I’ve been told by the American Red Cross that I’ve donated more than 3 gallons of blood in my lifetime. That’s both a lot and nowhere near what some people donate. Considering the average man has 12 pints of blood, that equates to roughly two guy’s worth of A negative blood that’s come out of me and into other folks. Lately I usually donate “Power Red”, which seem to be particularly helpful because I’m donating 2x the needed red blood cells. In the process of donating they separate what they need and return the rest along with some saline solution. It takes a bit longer but nothing too crazy. Apparently not everyone can donate them, so since I can I do.
At one point in my life I tried donating platelets, and did it maybe 4 or 5 times. But the amount of time needed to donate was prohibitive for me, particularly when they closed the place right down the street from me and centralized platelet donations in select locations (Manchester, New Hampshire or Boston, Danvers and Dedham, Massachusetts that surely are convenient for a lot of people but not me. If there’s a national emergency declared and platelets are urgently needed then call me up – otherwise take my Power Reds and I’ll see you in a few months.
There’s really nothing to donating blood or Power Reds. I know there are many people who can’t donate for health reasons or because of lifestyle choices like living in a certain foreign country for more than five years. Donated blood has a shelf life of 42 days. Apparently only 37% of the population can donate, and only 10% do it annually. I’m somewhere in the 3 to 4 times per year range. So I may not be perfect, but I do bleed and clot well, and have been told I have “good veins”, so I donate when I can. Perhaps I’ve saved a life or two as the campaigns say, or maybe not and just made it a little easier to save a life. Either way I’m all in. How about you?