Have you ever donated blood before? Maybe at your school or church blood drive? Maybe you’re one who just loves to give to help people. It seems as though most of the time, the Red Cross uses advertisements telling you you can save lives and help someone else out and while that is all true and a great reason to give, this post goes out to you who find this is not enough of a reason to give.
Did you know that when you donate blood, you’re actually improving many functions of your body. What’s that you say? How can taking blood, my life fluid, out from my body help me? Well, I’m glad you asked.
1. You Receive a Mini Health Checkup… for Free!
When you go in to the American Red Cross Blood Donation centers, they will check a couple of things to make sure you are in a good position to give blood that would actually help someone in need. They check your Iron levels, pulse, your blood pressure, and even your temperature. If any of these are off they will inform you about how much and then, if your levels are too far off, they send you home, but at least you know something is off so that your can fix the problem. Now, this won’t catch every health risk you may have but it’s a start. Especially helpful for women because it usually catches low levels of Iron which need increasing (men tend to be on the opposite side, too much iron and heart problems). They also send your blood through a series of tests to make sure it is safe before giving it to someone in need and if they find anything wrong with it, they’ll let you know!
2. Reduces Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease
When you donate blood, it helps regulate the levels of Iron in the bloodstream which has been linked to lowering your chances of cancer and heart disease, so then this may just help your chances of being around a little longer and less to worry about in the health department. This only works though if you actually donate the blood so make sure you are well enough to donate first!
3. Burn Off some Calories
That’s right, you’re worried because the vampires (that’s what I call the Red Cross employees who take my blood. Its a joke and totally in good fun) tell you not to lift or do any strenuous activity for the rest of the day after donating? You actually burn about 650 Calories for a single blood donation and, hey, if you need more, do what I do and if its a workout day, go workout (and shower off), eat, and then go donate. That way you’re getting it all in and giving too.
4. Start Fresh
After giving, you are asked to drink an extra 8 fl. oz. of water in addition to your average intake to help replenish your missing blood. This is a great way to raise those new blood cells right. Give them the proper nutrients and watch the wonders unfold. A little nudge of some healthy choices lead to better blood cells, better health, a better you. It’s good for your body to make new blood every once in awhile. Gives you some clean new blood to service the old body.
5. Free Cookies and Juice!
Seriously! Cookies! When you donate at American Red Cross, they have tons of juice and cookies which they have you eat after donating to get your energy back up and replace some fluids. Cookies, guys, cookies. You know you want some.
6. Figuring Out Your Blood Type
After giving, the American Red Cross will send you a donor card indicating your name and blood type. Keep this in your wallet and if they need to roll you into the hospital they know a little quicker what your blood type is. Also, have your friends and family donate with you and find out what their blood type is. Could come in handy if you (or they, sorry that’s a selfless reason, back to you) need blood when planning surgery or, Lord forbid, get into an accident. You’ll know just who to call for your exact blood match.
Now, the Selfless Reasons:
1. Literally can Help Save Lives
Estimates show that one blood donating (about 1 Pint) can save about 3 or 4 lives. That is pretty amazing. Sometimes its babies, sometimes old folks, sometimes cancer patients, or accident victims. These are people who need blood the most and your donation can save them. That’s a great thing to be a part of.
“and from Jesus Christ,the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids starting a day or two before up till the time of your donation. Eat a good meal about an hour before donating (proteins are good). Do not lie about the questions you are suppose to answer (truthfully) before giving blood. These are to make sure that no one is going to be put in danger, even remotely, by your donation. Do not use this to find out if you suspect you have a specific blood disease, you’re risking the chance that they will miss it and then give your blood to someone else, who could then catch the same disease. Know what medicine you are taking or have taken in the past and maybe bring a list of your phone so you know in case they ask about medications you are currently taking or have taken in the past.
If you would like to join me and countless others in donating please go to the American Red Cross’s website and set up a donation time. You can be a hero, the nameless masked savior in the time of need. Please donate and help someone out (while also helping yourself out for the ones who need more of a reason).
For more information check out these sites: