I love donating blood.
Specifically, I love doing double reds. For those unfamiliar with the term, double red means when they pull the blood out of your body, process it right there to separate out the red blood cells, then pump the other stuff back into you, along with a lovely saline solution. Using this method, they are able to take two units worth of red blood cells, rather than just one.
Smaller needle (Never minded needles much myself, but I guess this is a major selling point for some)
VIP service (Red Cross people LOVE double red donors)
Really cool machine (I geek out a bit every single time)
You get your plasma and platelets back with extra fluids, so it doesn't really knock you out as much. (It also feels gnarly when it goes back in, like taking a cool drink through your arm)
And ladies and gentlemen, that isn't all!
Those are only the specific benefits of double red donation. Blood donation in general is absolutely amazing.
As regular citizens, we often don't get much chance to save lives. We may donate to charities that may, with the help of thousands of other donations, contribute to saving lives, but that is quite indirect. When you donate blood, however, that little piece of you might save another person's life by the end of the week.
The Red Cross alone provides blood for over 5600 transfusions a day, almost all of them critical. By my calculations, that boils down to a transfusion every seven seconds or so. That is a crushing burden! I see in that a fragile system, unable to handle great catastrophes.
The only answer is a shift in public perception. Blood donating should be a regular activity like changing the oil in our cars. A massive need can only be answered by a mass response.
But wait, folks, that's STILL isn't all!
Donating blood comes with a host of personal health benefits! The initial ones are obvious. You get a free mini-physical, complete with blood work. Beyond that, however, science is now coming to terms with the health benefits of blood donation. Blood donors are 88% less likely to experience heart attacks than non-donors.
There are also initial findings suggesting that donating blood on a regular basis contributes greatly to overall health and longevity. Donating blood even helps with weight loss and reduces cancer risk! It may be why women live longer than men and why bloodletting was such a common medical treatment for hundreds of years. (Now without leeches!)
And ladies and gents... THAT STILL ISN'T ALL!!!
They also give out free snacks and juice :)
Ok, that's all. Don't forget to donate!