American Red Cross: The Gift of Life

Sharon Keyser

Posted on September 29 2020

American Red Cross:  The Gift of Life

 

 

For most of my adult life I have been a regular blood donor.  I feel a deep sense of purpose when given the chance to donate.  Did you know that one pint of blood can save up to three lives?  Such a small gift can have such miraculous and far-reaching results! 

According to the list of Blood Facts on https://www.givingblood.org/:

  1. 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion each year.
  2. Someone needs blood every two seconds.
  3. About one in seven people entering a hospital need blood.

There are many more facts listed on the website, but the ones listed above are pretty outstanding.  The American Red Cross makes it possible for people to donate blood by organizing hundreds of blood drives every day.  You can donate blood regularly but you must wait 56 days between Whole Blood donations, which is how I give.  You also have the option of giving a Power Red Donation, a Platelet Donation or a Plasma Donation.  It's such a great feeling when I receive a message from the American Red Cross about a month after my donation which reads, "Great News!  Your Red Cross donation arrived at a hospital to help patients in need!"  It warms my heart.

Giving blood is very personal for me.  Many years ago I needed to have surgery.  Thankfully it wasn't an emergency, but it was a procedure that could improve my quality of life.  My doctor recommended that I donate my own blood in advance in case I needed a blood transfusion during or after.  I did as she suggested, and it proved to be a wise move.  I lost a lot of blood during the procedure and, over the next 24 hours afterwards, I was barely coherent and felt like I was near death.  The doctor ordered a blood transfusion using the blood I had donated, and within the next 24 hours I felt like I had come back to life.  It was like a miracle had occurred, I could feel life coursing through my veins, and the experience gave me a first-hand appreciation of how vital our blood is.  That is when I decided to become a dedicated blood donor.  

Even though I need no incentive to donate, there are times when the need for blood is so critical that the American Red Cross will give a gift to donors at blood drives as a way to say thank you.  I've received a few gifts over the years, but my favorite of all is a long sleeved t-shirt with "Amazing Superb Donor" printed on the front.  It's very creative in that they used the "A" in Amazing, the "B" in Superb and the "O" in Donor to symbolize the various blood types.  Cute and clever!  My creative eye is digging it.  I received the t-shirt a year or so ago but pulled it out recently because it's perfect for Fall weather.  Also, it just so happens that I donated blood last week.  I'm feeling like an Amazing Super Donor right about now.

 

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