About 20 years ago, I lost my brother-in-law, Barry. Mitch and I were young and had just left our family in New York, to relocate to Florida. While Barry was sick, there wasn’t much we could do to help. Living so far away and having young children, I was helpless to help him or my sister-in-law and their young children. To fill my own need to do something, I decided to donate blood at my local blood bank. Since then, I have donated many gallons of blood and Mitch has jumped on board. Since both of us have O+ blood types, we have what is considered “baby” blood and are able to designate our donations to go directly to the pediatric ward of the hospital. Since babies get only small amounts of transfused blood at a time, our donations go a long way, meaning we can actually help save several lives in just a few minutes. This gives us great satisfaction and we try to schedule our donations around the holidays, when the banks always seem to be in more need than ever.
Thankful for all we have, Mitch and I donated this past Saturday. The added bonus of giving this gift of life, is that the donor gets a mini physical each time. Your temperature, blood pressure and pulse are taken before the donation and your iron level is tested as well. Though they suggest you wait 5 days before logging on to their site to find out what your cholesterol reading is, I did so prematurely and found out ours last night. That was just 2 days later, a much quicker turn around time than most get from their physician’s office. Additionally and possibly most importantly for the donor, the blood gets screened for HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis, West Nile Virus and several other more rare diseases and disorders and a letter would be received should any of the tests come back positive.
So this year, perhaps you, too, will consider the gift of life. No appointment is needed, though you certainly can make one. The entire procedure takes well under 30 minutes and a drink and snack are provided. Sometimes t-shirts and/or movie theatre tickets are also given as a token of appreciation.
If you are interested in donating, visit www.cbcsf.org or call 1-800-233-4776. This holiday season you can keep an eye on your own health and give the gift of life, as well.