Feel Good About Yourself: Donate Blood

Article posted in: Lifestyle

My mom used to say that the best way to make yourself feel better was to do something for someone else. Truer words were never spoken, I think. And perhaps the best example of something good you can do for someone else, at very little cost to yourself, is to donate blood.

According to the American Red Cross, more than 4.5 million patients need blood transfusions each year in the United States and Canada; that’s 43,000 pints each day, or someone every two seconds. And yet, only 37 percent of the population is eligible to donate, and of that, only 10 percent do so each year, despite the fact that healthy donors can give one pint of blood every 56 days. Why should you donate? Simple: Your blood can save someone’s life. A single pint can save up to three lives, in fact. Who can give? Anybody at least 17 years old who weighs more than 110 pounds and who is feeling healthy that day.

When you donate blood, it can be broken down into its component parts to aid those in need. Red blood cells carry oxygen and are often given to cancer patients during chemotherapy. Platelets promote blood clotting and help leukemia patients. White blood cells help fight infection and help a wide range of patients.

I wouldn’t recommend blood donation to people who are prone to fainting, or who are squeamish. But if you’re not a fainter and aren’t fazed by the thought or sight of needles, I’d urge you to step up and head to a local blood drive. From start to finish, the process will take about an hour, and the good you will do with your donation is immense. Particularly if you have the universal donor’s O negative blood, which can be transfused into patients of all blood types, you should consider a donation. You’ll feel good about yourself, and someone else will, too. How often can we say that?