Do You Give Blood?

I think I have mentioned on more than one occasion I am a blood donor, I am also a bone marrow donor and am on the registry. I have been giving blood on and off since I was 16 years old. I had a few stints where for health reasons I was unable to donate. I don’t think I have ever told the story of why I give blood and why I am a bone marrow donor. Today I will enlighten everyone on why I try to give blood regularly and will encourage everyone to give blood because they desperately need it. I want to state I am O-, if you are unaware on what this means it is universal donor or as my husband says, “liquid gold.” O- can give blood to everyone, it doesn’t matter what blood type they are. In fact today I am doing a Power Red Donation which does twice as many red blood cells, it is the equivalent of two normal donations at one time. Meaning you definitely do not drink alcohol after this donation because you will be drunk after three sips of wine.

The wonderful internet provided this chart on blood types for me.

Another interesting fact about blood types is if a woman with RH negative factor blood type gets pregnant with someone who is RH positive factor, there is a shot she must receive (RH shot). If the child who is born is RH positive the mother receives a second shot in the buttocks. I know this from personal experience, I have one child with RH positive blood and the other with RH negative blood (no second shot required). If the shot is refused and the mother get pregnant again, her and the child’s life is at risk. This is one of the many reasons they do full blood work at prenatal visits.

Why do I give blood? Beside the fact I am O- it goes back to when I was in high school, they did a blood drive at my high school and I we got extra credit in biology (something I desperately needed). They also fed me Oreo cookies afterwards, so I was definitely game. At the time I did not know this fact, 75% of blood donations come from high school students (I found this out last time I gave blood). It does make sense, high school students have more time and they get extra credit. In high school I also had a friend who had leukemia (remission at the time), she always volunteered for the blood drives. When I turned 16 (my first time giving blood), she was re-diagnosed with leukemia and they did a blood/bone marrow drive for her. I remember asking her, why do you volunteer at every blood drive? She said because I can’t give and I know how important it is to give blood. She then paused and said she wished she could be a bone marrow donor. That is when I became a bone marrow donor, I opted in, they took some extra blood and I have been on the registry ever since. I have learned unless it is an organized bone marrow drive, it does cost money to be put on the bone marrow donor registry – I did not pay because it was a bone marrow drive. I have been called once to see if they could test further, I was ecstatic – absolutely! After further testing I ended up not being a match and am still on the registry to this day. Sadly my friend passed shortly after the bone marrow drive but I never forgot this conversation we had regarding blood drives and bone marrow donations.

With COVID, giving blood is more important than ever because people are not giving blood right now. I also am well aware of the LBGTQ community and the history with blood donations (I have several friends who could not give blood for years because of this). This is another reason, I always tried to give because I know people needed it. I have had health issues in the past that made me ineligible to donate, so now that I can donate I donate as much as possible. I ask if you are able, please donate because there are people who really need it.

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