I'm lucky enough to be able to donate, even before and after my fight with cancer. I was saved by a blood donation many years ago, and have witnessed family & friends recover, who would not have survived without those blood donations. Many of our local donations go to Children's Hospital, and their little warriors in the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
I feel a blood donation truly is a “gift of life” that I can give to others in my community who are sick or injured. In one hour’s time, I can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into four individual components that could help save multiple lives, and I double it up with a 'double-red' donation of two units in one donation.
Here's the cool machine I get to hang out with:
So when scheduling donations, I post on social media that I'll buy dinner if you donate with me, and last time I got buy dinner for 4 peeps! That's up to 12 lives helped. :)
I hear many worries or reasons why people cannot or will not donate. I understand if it is against your beliefs or medically impossible, however, some of the myths I hear are concerning, and false.
What do they do with your donation?:
From one unit of blood, red blood cells can be extracted for use in trauma or surgical patients. Plasma, the liquid part of blood, is administered to patients with clotting problems. The third component of blood, platelets, clot the blood when cuts or other open wounds occur, and are often used in cancer and transplant patients. Cryoprecipitated anti-hemophilic factor (AHF) is also used for clotting factors. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, and more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.
Some myths & worries about donation, and the facts:
“You don’t want my blood."
With less than 10% of the eligible population actually donating blood, we need every able donor to give blood. We perform 13 tests on each unit of blood to ensure that the blood is safe for the recipient.
"I can’t give blood because I’m afraid of needles."
Most people do feel a bit of nervousness about blood donation. Most also say after their donation that they’re
sorry they waited so long. Blood donation is a momentary discomfort for the donor that can provide a lifetime of
a difference for the patient.
"I can’t give blood because I have seasonal allergies."
Allergies, even those that need to be controlled by medication, will not prevent you from donating blood as long
as symptoms are mild and you are generally feeling well.
"I can’t give blood because I have high blood pressure."
As long as your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (top number) and 100 diastolic (bottom number) at the time
of your donation, you may give blood. Furthermore, medications that you may be taking for high blood pressure
do not disqualify you from donating.
"I can’t give blood because I have high cholesterol."
A high cholesterol level does not disqualify you from donating–even if medication is used to control it.
"I can’t give blood because I had a flu shot."
In fact, you may donate blood the same day you receive the vaccination as long as you are feeling well.
"I can’t give blood because I’m on medication"
In nearly all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. As long as you are healthy and the
condition is under control, you will very likely be able to donate.
The following medications are the only ones which would prevent you from donating blood: antibiotics*, blood thinners (such as Coumadin, Heparin, Lovenox, Warfarin), Proscar, Avodart, Jalyn, Propecia, Accutane, Soriatane, Tegison, human-derived growth hormones, bovine insulin, Hepatitis B Immune Globulin, and anyone who has received an unlicensed vaccine, usually associated with research. *Donors who are taking antibiotics are eligible to donate 24 hours after their last dose.
“I can’t give blood because I’m diabetic.”
Diabetics may donate blood as long as the other medical requirements are met. However, the previous use of bovine-derived insulin (insulin from a cow) will result in deferral from blood donation.
“I can’t give blood because I’m anemic.”
Your hemoglobin (iron) level will be checked prior to donating blood. As long as levels are normal on the day of donation, you can give blood. We recommend eating meals that are rich in iron leading up to your donation.
“I need my blood."
The average adult has approximately 10 pints of blood in his/her body. Your body will replace your donated red blood cells within 3-4 weeks.
“I can’t donate blood because I had cancer."
While some types of cancer such as leukemia and lymphoma (Hodgkins, non-Hodgkins, etc.) will defer a donor permanently, other cancer survivors can donate blood after being in remission for at least one year.
“I can’t donate blood because I’ve been out of the country."
Simply traveling outside of the United States will not defer you from donating blood. Temporary restrictions are placed on potential donors who have visited countries with a high risk of malaria. These restrictions change almost yearly, so check with PSBC to ask about a specific destination.
Even if you cannot give for medical or personal reasons, you can donate time and support your local blood bank, and save lives!
Find how you can help here: www.psbc.org