I have found that giving my time and sacrificing my comfort for the sole purpose of giving to someone else has an intrinsic benefit. I even get a little emotional bump from it, although I wouldn’t call it a high (on occasion I need a nap after)! The main reason I give blood is in thought of those I know who have received it.
Sometime between my first and second blood platelet donation, a client I was working with shared that her son, who had been sick and in and out of the hospital, was diagnosed with cancer. Ugh. As part of his cancer treatment he was receiving platelets. During one of my trips to the Red Cross, I had learned that platelets only live for about five days (with the help of plasma) and go to someone local within that timeframe. It was then that I made the connection to consistently help those I know who battle such a tough battle. We often feel so helpless in these instances. While I can’t donate to specific individuals I care about, I can think about them as I give my donation. I also think about the person on the other end of the donation my loved ones are getting. By contributing to the community of blood donations, my community benefits as well.
I came to give regular blood donations in a round-about way. I gave whole blood one time in college and did not feel particularly well after. About 7 years later, we moved into our first house. I felt compelled to look up the closest Red Cross from the new house and I went to give whole blood in Bloomington, less than five miles away. I don’t remember how I felt afterward, but I do remember asking a lot of questions about the people on the other side of the room. They looked cozied up in blankets, each reading a book or watching a movie on supplied portable dvd players.
The phlebotomist explained that they were Blood PLATELET Donors. Here were the highlights: 3 hours start to finish. They draw whole blood which runs through a machine, spins the platelets and a small amount of plasma out and returns the rest of your blood along with saline. One donation can be up to 3 different doses that are given after surgeries, during cancer treatment, etc. She said I was healthy, already qualified for blood donation and I should try it.
So I did. Currently I give platelets every 1-3 months and aside from that intrinsic benefits I mentioned, I really enjoy the downtime and letting my mind completely relax. My brain is often running hyperdrive with a long list of things to do. However, since my arms are tied to the blood draw, there’s basically zero opportunity for phone time, computer or even hand-written activities! Once I get over the initial “Aaahhhh!” and realize there’s nothing I can do, I kick back and relax. I am working my way through their Julia Roberts collection of provided movies!
I encourage you to give a gift that cannot be bought or manufactured. Think of your loved ones who have utilized blood donation to fight illness. Go to Redcrossblood.org to find a donation site near you and schedule your donation; whether it’s your first donation, your fifth, or your fifth gallon!
Near the Richfield, MN area? Join OUR whole blood drive co-hosted with the Richfield Babcock VFW on September 30th!
Help us reach our goal of 25 pints of blood donated! Register online at http://www.redcrossblood.org using sponsor code: babcockvfw.
Free: “Honor Those Who Serve” t-shirts and cake for donors!
When: September 30, 2015 from 12 – 6pm
Where: Richfield Babcock VFW, 6715 Lake Shore Dr S, Richfield, MN 55423
In honor of:
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.