Tuesday, January 17, 2012


My first and only trip out of the United States happened between August 28th and September 10th, 2010. One more reason to regret going was that traveling in Peru and Bolivia prevented me from donating blood for a whole year. I resented that.

Last night, for the first time since July 2010, I gave blood. It was great. I had tried to make an appointment a couple of times since September 2011, but last night I finally got past all the obstacles that had kept me from it and bled!

I like giving blood because it’s one way you can save lives when it’s convenient for you (rather than, say, running out into the cold to beat off an attack at four in the morning). My dad worked in a hospital for decades and I remember seeing him come home with the “Be Nice to Me, I Gave Blood” sticker. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to start giving.

In fact, I took the first chance I got as a freshman in college. I didn't quite make the weight minimum, but I didn’t care. I wanted to give so badly I lied to the intake nurse who looked at me doubtfully. Giving blood felt fine and I gobbled cookies and juice with joy afterwards.

Later in my English class, I didn’t feel so great, but in decades of giving blood, I never had that reaction again. I gained weight quickly in the U.C. Berkeley dorms and have stayed well above 110 pounds ever since (OH yeah, NO problem).

Why would anyone turn down the chance to save up to three lives when it costs you nothing and you can do it in your spare time, whenever your schedule allows?

Donate blood, damn it. If you can’t give, please recruit someone who can. It's a wonderful thing to do, plus you never know when it’ll be you bleeding on the pavement.


Mick said...

Do many people give blood in the States, think it would be around 50% here but not sure.

Mick said...

Decided to answer my own question and cant believe how low it is.
Apparently in the UK its only 4% of the population (sure its much higher in my town).
Sadly the US performs even worse with only 3%.

Think if they are talking population that will include people under 17 who arn't allowed so as that will be half the population the percentages could be doubled.

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Thanks for doing the research, Mick. Yes, the number of Americans who regularly donate blood is shamefully low. I don't know how the hospitals keep anyone alive with our blood bank levels. Oh, well. All I can do is keep bleeding and encourage others to do so. Can you give blood, Mick?

cindylu said...

I'm pro giving blood, but lately while I've been training for marathons and half marathons it just doesn't seem like the best idea. I donated last January in memory of my uncle who passed away from a blood disease (and received many transfusions while ill). I felt so slow and sluggish for a while. It took my body a couple months to recover. I haven't given blood in more than a year and always feel a little bad every time I pass the blood donation center on campus. I do plan to give in a couple of months when I let up on training.

I've given blood in the past solely because I wanted the juice and cookies. And, I'm really bummed out when I'm not allowed to give because of low iron levels.

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Cindylu - thank you for donating blood! That's great that you're going to get back to it when you can. I felt tired after this last time, too, but I'm not training for anything. Take care of yourself.