Every New Year’s resolution centers on some action or activity that we link to self-improvement. I have a twist to the usual self-improvement resolution. Ever consider a New Year’s commitment that focuses on working toward self-improvement for others? Specifically, I’m suggesting that donating blood through various organizations, most notably the Red Cross, is a particularly strong New Year’s resolution.
Donating blood is important because:
- Blood is needed every two seconds.
- About one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood.
- Blood is always needed for treatment of accident victims, cancer patients, hemophiliacs and surgery patients.
- Blood cannot be manufactured.
- Only 37 percent of our country's population is eligible to give blood, and less than 10 percent of those who can donate actually do donate annually.
There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed. Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.
If you wish to give blood, here are a few easy rules to follow.
- Decide where you want to give blood. You can find the nearest or most convenient place by visiting the Red Cross, which has a reputation as a source for blood donations. Visit redcrossblood.org.
- Call for an appointment. Some places might allow for walk-ins, but it’s helpful to have a firm appointment.
- Ask what type of identification that you might need.
- Try to eat foods that are rich in iron beforehand.
- You must be between 18 to 60 years old.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and be sure that you can roll up your sleeves.
- You will probably have a slight finger prick to ensure the safety of your blood.
- Plan on about one hour (the time will vary) for the donation.
- You must wait about eight weeks between blood donations.
If you’re so inclined to donate your blood, one my young bosses, a high school student in Willingboro, is organizing her second blood drive on Tuesday, January 8 from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m at 220 Willingboro Parkway. For an appointment, you can call 856-577-1314, email [email protected] or visit: redcrossblood.org
Invariably, this leads to an inevitable question in the privacy of our own thoughts. We might ask: “Why should I do this?” The answer comes from an unrelated but relevant act of volunteerism that I heard about last week.
During the Christmas holiday, a national news report, which has covered this story for a number of years, shared a segment about how “Secret Santa” (a businessman in “disguise”) gave away $100 bills to complete strangers. His explanation about why he does it applies to the gift of donating blood.
“You know, kindness is a bridge between all people and so if you’re ever down, and you want to lift yourself up, go do something kind for somebody,” the Secret Santa said. Amen.
That’s my take, what’s yours?