Hopefully, you have not had the need for a blood transfusion to get you through a rough spot, or even to save your life. I have not, but have had family members and friends who may not be here today without that donation of blood from someone else. You can donate blood to a family member, to a stranger, or even to yourself (for a future need due to surgery, etc.). As a military dependent, I donate to the Armed Forces Blood Program, which supplies blood for the military community. The AFBP provides blood for everyone from active duty members needing battlefield transfusions in Afghanistan to cancer patients who are military family members living in the US.
I remember my first donation. I was in high school and 17 years old – just over the minimum age and weight and excited to get out of class. Not being allowed to exert myself for 24 hours afterwards also may have gotten me out of swim practice (where my coach told me to go drink a beer because I would get drunk faster, which I was horrified to hear). My intentions then maaaay have been a bit more selfish than they are now – and NO, I didn’t even think about drinking the beer (that was back when I thought it tasted horrible – my how things have changed). Knowing that EVERY TWO SECONDS a transfusion is needed and that ONE DONATION CAN SAVE THREE LIVES is more of a motivating factor now. I also grew up knowing that my Mom always donated every 8 weeks, which is the minimum time you must wait in the US to donate blood again, so it is “in my blood”. Ha ha!
Not everyone is eligible to donate blood and there is a screening process that is there to protect both the recipient and the donor. Of course, the blood banks don’t want anyone giving someone else a disease, but they also don’t want the donor getting sick due to a loss of iron, etc. The process has evolved, and not every country follows the World Health Organization recommended testing guidelines, but most western/developed countries do and most also mandate that it is a voluntary donation.
Check out your local blood bank, the Armed Services Blood Program (if you are affiliated with the military), or go to the Red Cross Website to find a location near you and save a life … or perhaps three.
I am thankful that donating blood is something that I can do to help others and that, if needed, others donate who could someday save me or someone I love.