I am going to take a different tact today. While we will continue to talk about the stigma of suicide, today I want to talk about saving a life. Actually saving up to 3 lives. That is what is possible with a single donation of a pint of blood can do. When you consider that up to 4.5 million people a year would die without a blood transfusions, and about every 2 seconds somebody needs blood, the fact that less than 10 percent of people donate blood is distressing.
That is enough of a problem in and of itself. But (You knew that was coming, didn’t you), we are coming up on that time of year, when blood is typically most needed, and donations are (you can probably guess, can’t you?) are at their lowest. Everyone getting ready for Thanksgiving dinners, holiday shopping, and parties. Illnesses such as the flu can cause some otherwise would be donors to become temporarily ineligible to donate. And, inclement weather cancels or delays what blood drives are put together.
When asked, the most frequently cited reasons that eligible non-donors give for not participating are, “I never thought about it” (17%) and “I am too busy” (15%). So, that means there are at least a third of non-donors that can be turned this holiday season, either by getting the to “think about it” or, like the Grinch, get them to have their heart grow three times so they think about something outside of their little self-absorbed little circle of life.
Harsh? Perhaps a little. But when you think about the fact that it takes less than an hour. In that time you get a free “mini-physical” that checks your blood pressure, iron levels, and your blood for various diseases. And there are many benefits to donating blood as well, including:
Blood donations reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Studies suggest that donating blood may also reduce the risk of cancer.
Reduces the risk of hemochromatosis (a condition from the absorption of too much iron)
Reduces iron overload in the body which reduces stress on your kidney, liver and pancreas
Stimulates blood cell production
So, now whether it be for altruistic reasons, or selfish ones, you have many reasons to go out and donate blood. Before you get caught up with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, find a donation drive in your local area (they really aren’t hard to find if you look). And whether you are going to do it for yourself, or someone else, take an hour of your life and donate.