Donating the Gift of Life

Eastern hosts blood drive

On Monday, Nov. 17, Eastern University hosted a blood drive through the American Red Cross. Many students signed up to give to this worthy cause, but this is a much more personal donation than money.

Giving blood is so important because it is always in demand; someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. One donor, in her story on the American Red Cross’s website, explains, “My mother contracted a blood disease…when she was in her 70s. Because of this, she needed a blood transfusion requiring two pints of blood every three weeks for the last four years of her life. With the generosity and donations of…people I have never met, my mom was kept alive all those years for me to love.”

Donating is such an easy way to save a life; in fact, one donation can provide enough blood to save as many as three lives. Another donor shares, “I love donating blood. The thought of being able to help save three people’s lives every time I go makes me feel like a better person.”
For these reasons, anyone who is able to give blood should, along with the 9.2 million others who will donate this year in the United States.

According to the American Red Cross, there are four different types of donations:

1. Whole blood, which is the most common. The donor gives approximately one pint of blood. This can be done every 56 days.

2. Platelet. An apheresis machine takes platelets and plasma. Platelets are important for cancer and organ transplant treatments, since they work to prevent blood loss. A single donation can provide for one or more transfusions. The donation takes approximately 1½ to 2½ hours.

3. Plasma. This is done at the same time as a platelet donation at select American Red Cross Donation Centers. The donation takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

4. Double red cell. An apheresis machine gathers red cells. Donors must meet additional hemoglobin, height and weight requirements and can give every 112 days.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible, you can go on the American Red Cross’s website and see if you fulfill the requirements or just go on the day of the donation and see if you pass the mini-physical they will give you. Even if you have a fear of needles, fear not, because the people administering the donations are highly skilled, and most of them have been doing this for a very long time. They will make the experience as enjoyable and painless as possible.

So the next time there is a blood drive in your area, stop by and donate, because your blood could save three lives.


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