Provided, of course, that you use those 15 minutes right. If you donate a single pint of whole blood, that’s how long you will sit in a chair, squeezing a ball. Considering the fact that, “Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood,*” your time could be extremely valuable to someone else. Blood is the great equalizer; we all need it to live. As of this point, while multiple attempts have been made, no synthetic blood has been successfully developed. The only way for one person who needs blood to get it is for someone else to donate it.
I know some of you are probably thinking it’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be. Here’s a *few facts about blood needs and donors:
- Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10% actually do each year
- The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints
- A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
- One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.
- Only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have O-negative blood type. O-negative blood type donors are universal donors as their blood can be given to people of all blood types
- Type O-negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known and with newborns who need blood
So, are you over 17? Over 110 pounds? Are you well and healthy? If you answered yes to all the previous questions then you should consider donating. You even get cookies afterward! Honestly, I know it probably sounds painful, after all, it’s a friggin’ needle. The thing is, you hand your arm to a phlebotomist, turn your head the other way, take a deep breath and … oh hey, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Wussy.
Seriously though, don’t wait until some horrible tragedy strikes. Blood and its various components can only be stored for a certain amount of time and for all the tests needed prior to transfusion mean that by the time a tragedy strikes, the blood needed is in short supply and the blood donated afterward is likely to go bad before it can be used.
For more information on the blood donation process, eligibility, and facts: *http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood