Olivia Samerdyke, Editor-in-Chief
Since age fifteen, I wanted to get stuck in the arm. I wanted to donate blood. A book I read in the car during a ten-hour trip—Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood by Bill Hayes—made me aware of the need for blood donors. It’s high, and as the slogan on the pre-donation information said, “It’s constant.”
According to the Red Cross’ website, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. New cancer patients are diagnosed daily, and many will need blood during their treatment. Also, blood cannot be artificially made; the supply given to patients who need it only comes from donors. Just under 38% of the population can give blood.
“I’d like to donate blood, but I can’t,” Kelleyann Gordon explained. “My iron’s too low.”
Because blood is so important, guidelines for who may donate are rather strict. Donors must be healthy, within a certain weight category, and cannot have low iron levels. Other criteria can get a little personal, such as medical history, but the information taken during the pre-donation interviews remains strictly confidential.
Baldwin students at the drive, however, did not mind sharing their reasons for volunteering.
“I want to support,” Erin Dullahan said.
Katie Stewart agreed, adding, “I do it every year.”
Not everyone shares their enthusiasm, and people who don’t donate often cite a dislike of needles as their reason. It is true that the actual needle-stick is not pleasant, but the sensation ends quickly. The whole donation process (the actual giving of blood) only lasts about 10-12 minutes, and the reward, helping people, goes beyond a cranberry juice and a few cookies or pretzels.
Donating isn’t for everyone, though, and not everyone has had the strong inspiration I was lucky enough to read. But with MBC’s Relay for Life event approaching in the spring, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate more birthdays and get more feet on the track, as Relay hopes to accomplish. However, when the next blood drive comes to campus, anyone who can, ought to consider it. Like they say in the comics, “Quick! To the Bloodmobile!” There are no bats, guaranteed.