Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another Blood Drive, Another Pint Of Something Good

I gave blood again today, as I’ve been doing since 1976. I started because my boss at Steak n’ Shake said we could go donate without clocking out, which means I probably got paid $3 for the time it took. Plus, there were free cookies, so I was hooked.

Today's visit was at a local school, where students gave hand-made thank you cards to donors. Although it was crowded today, only about 6 percent of the US population has my blood type, O-, which is the “universal red cell donor,” according to the Red Cross, so I figure I’m pretty likely to save lives every time I donate. And since less than 10 percent of the US population donate blood (some sources say it is closer to 3 percent), like Bob Dylan says, “I guess it must be up to me.”

I’ve never smoked or drank alcohol or used drugs stronger than Certz with Retsyn, and I can answer all those sex questions on the application favorably, so I figure my blood is safe for whoever gets it. How could I not donate?

Like a lot of good things that we know we ought to do, giving blood isn’t always convenient, and there is a measure of pain involved. I mean, when they rip off that tape and it pulls the hairs off your wrist – ouch!

If you are one of the 90 percent who do not donate, perhaps you should reconsider. If you are old enough and healthy enough, why not take an hour and save some lives.

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