A quick Google search is all that is needed to find out how much people dislike spiders, heights, the thought of public speaking, and even the idea of death. Another culprit of many people’s fears are needles: they hurt, and you are likely getting one because you are sick and need a shot or need to have blood drawn. I, too, dislike needles, but I have been able to mostly conquer my fear with the thought that having a tiny needle in my arm for about ten minutes can save up to three lives through blood donation.
My first time donating blood was my senior year of high school. I had tried to donate a few times before, but I was always just a little under the recommended weight limit, which I will explain a little later. I heard so many people enjoyed donating blood but I just didn’t get it. Why would anyone voluntarily get poked with a needle and get drained of blood? I thought we weren’t supposed to lose blood? Honestly, I ended up wandering to my high school gymnasium to donate blood in order to get out of my biology class. The thing is, we were learning about the cardiovascular system in class that day! While the rest of my class got to learn about blood, I was seeing first hand the benefits that donating blood has.
Blood donation is a quick, rewarding, and relatively painless process. There are many blood centers in most major cities with one of the most popular and well known being the American Red Cross. Both at my high school and at LMU, however, Medic Regional Blood Center is who facilitates blood donations throughout the year. Each center is a little different, but the process is usually very similar no matter where you go.
To ensure the safety of the donor and the recipient, those who are interested in donating blood need to meet certain requirements in order to donate. You must be at least 17 years old in most states, but in some states 16 -year-olds can donate with parental consent. You must weight at least 110 pounds if you are over 18 and 120 pounds if under 18. The most updated information can be obtained at this website. If you have ever had certain cancers or other medical conditions, have taken specific medications, or have recently traveled to certain countries, you may not be able to donate. A thorough list will be given to you in order to make the process easier. The most important requirement is that you must feel well. Donating with a cold is definitely not a good idea! If you meet the age, weight, and health requirements you are good to continue with the donation process!