Kids, I have been a fairly regular blood donor since I was a freshman in college.
It started with a bloodmobile that would show up on Bluefield College’s campus once each semester. So, back then, I would donate roughly twice a year. You know, once each semester.
After college, I did a better job of keeping track of when I was allowed to donate. I mean, when you’re giving whole blood, you can’t just find a blood drive on Friday and have them draw from your right arm, then find another drive on Saturday and let them use your left. You have to wait eight weeks between donations.
I don’t fully understand the human body. Does it take eight weeks for the body to replenish a pint of blood?
Is there a doctor on the blog?
Anyway, during my few years in North Carolina, I’m pretty sure I only donated blood once. I was outside of my usual area, so I wasn’t getting any notifications about upcoming blood drives.
But when I moved back to Virginia, I started getting calls. How did the Red Cross know I’d moved back? Anyway, since then I’ve been giving blood pretty regularly. If not whole blood, I’ve done platelets, which is different. The short version is that giving platelets takes a lot longer and they run your blood through a machine that separates out the platelets before pumping everything else and saline back in. Sounds gross when I write it like that, but it’s really not that bad.
Anyway, I’m not saying all that so I can pat myself on the back. Good for me! I’ve given a lot of blood to the Red Cross and who knows how many lives I’ve saved! Superman should be jealous! I’m saying all that so the Red Cross can pat myself on the back.
I got an email from our good friends at the American Red Cross informing me that, with my most recent blood donation, I had crossed the 10 gallon mark. In my lifetime, I have donated 10 gallons of blood. Is that a lot? It feels like a lot.
Let’s do the math. One gallon hold eight pints. And since a donor gives one pint of blood each time they give, that means I have done this thing 80 times. Is that a lot? It feels like a lot.
Until I think about the fact that it’s been 22 years since the first time I gave blood. Knowing that there are 52 weeks in a year, if I had given blood every eight weeks, as the Red Cross allows, I could have potentially given blood 143 times at this point. Which means, if I’d really been committed, I’d be closer to 18 gallons now.
But here we are. 10 gallons later. And I get a pin. And they still want my blood.
PSA: They want yours, too. In all seriousness, if you’re healthy and needles don’t bother you, find a blood drive and give as soon as you can. It really does save lives.
I assume. I’ve never actually witnessed a life saved because a pint of my blood was used in a transfusion. I just have to trust the statistics that that Red Cross are putting out there. I guess it could be a pyramid scheme run by vampires. Who’s to know.
Anyway, here’s to 10 gallons and to 10 gallons more.