I have wanted to donate blood since forever, and a little while ago I finally decided to just go ahead and do it. I had my blood tested, and when everything turned out fine I went ahead and donated for the first time. I was happy to see that there were plenty of other people at my local blood bank donating as well, but blood and plasma donors are still necessary, which is exactly why i’m writing this post.
Now please, if you can’t – or really don’t want to – donate blood, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so. But I realize that ‘wanting to donate blood’ is something on lots of people’s (bucket) lists, but it’s also one of those things that you kinda keep in the bang of their minds, like it’s never the right time or whatever. That’s what it was like for me anyway, until I decided to finally go ahead and do it. Here are some (unexpected) benefits to donating blood!
You help save lives
Obviously the number one reason to donate blood is that your blood helps save lives. In the United States, every two seconds a patient needs blood. Blood goes bad too, so we always need more of it. Many hospitals unfortunately don’t have enough blood to satisfy every patient, but your donation can help achieve that goal!
I often notice that people think about blood donations after hearing about a high-profile catastrophe that has left many people injured, like shootings or natural disasters. But there are less dramatic, but equally pressing, requirements for blood donations every day: leukemia sufferers can need six to eight infusions of platelets every day for a month, and blood is often required for women suffering catastrophic miscarriages or difficult childbirth. People getting an organ transplant and premature newborn babies also need blood.
You get a mini check-up
Before getting your blood drawn, you get a little mini check-up from the nurse. During the check-up, you get a chance to find out what your body temperature, pulse, hemoglobin and cholesterol levels are. I’m kind of a stats nerd anyways, but little check-ups like that never hurts!
Donating blood is actually considered healthy
Many people think that if they donate blood it could be harmful to their body – but nothing could be further from the truth. Once you give your pint of blood (in the Netherlands you donate 500ml each time) your body instantly starts to replenish the blood you lost. After your blood is drawn, your body actually runs more efficiently. Your body produces new red blood cells that are more efficient at carrying oxygen throughout the body. By donating regularly the iron level in the blood is balanced and the risk of cancer related to the liver, lungs, and intestine gets lower.
There is no way to make artificial blood (that operates the same way as real blood)
This was the main reason why I finally decided to take the leap and start donating. There is no way to make artificial blood that operated the same way as real blood. Think about that. The entire blood transfusion supply is dependent on other human beings, and often on their selflessness.
There have been modern efforts to create artificial blood, and there is a substitute that can help deliver oxygen to different parts of the body – but that’s it.
Going to the blood bank is actually a lot of fun!
Seriously. The nurses at my blood bank are so sweet. They get you your favorite coffee and give you all the food you want after you finish your donation. It was cool to see people of all ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds at my local blood bank, and every time I’m there I end up chatting with at least one person. Because in the end, we all share the same value, and that create an immediate connection.