“Why donate blood? The thought always made me feel uncertain, slightly queasy, and ineffective to make a difference.
Aren’t blood donation recipients only people who were critically injured in a car accident or had a surgery gone wrong? Then I met someone and had a personal experience that changed my mind.
The first influence to change my mind was Christie. She donated her blood several times a year because her blood was identified as CMV Negative meaning it was compatible for newborns’ and preemies’ transfusions. (Only 15% of adults are CMV negative.) Newborns and preemies require specific blood elements beyond blood type. Therefore, blood banks categorize and send only pediatric-specific blood products to care for infants. Christie felt it was “her calling” to take a few hours a year to donate her blood to change the lives of those families whose infants were in critical need. Wow! I had no idea. She really was giving a gift.
My second influence was my own experience as I became someone who needed a transfusion. I hadn’t been in a car accident nor was I in surgery; I was diagnosed with a chronic disease, Ulcerative Colitis, that caused internal bleeding and my hemoglobin/red blood cell tank was literally “half full” – to quote my doctor. He ordered a transfusion and I was in disbelief that I needed it, despite that I had passed out for a third time in a week and my lab work verified my low levels. The transfusion was painless and the nurses kept careful watch to ensure every last drop wasn’t wasted. What a gift I had received! I started feeling better and humbled that someone somewhere gave me and my family such a selfless gift.
Not everyone is eligible to donate blood for various reasons, personal or medical, however donating money or helping campaign (spreading the word, educating others, and recruiting donors) to support blood drives are equally a gift to all those who need it.”
-Heidi Presteen, Senior Content Manager