Your willingness to donate 20 minutes of your time, a quick prick and one pint of your blood can go so much further than imagined. This one pint can save three lives and is used for testing to cure diseases in the future. The time to even check if you are eligible is appreciated by anybody needing a blood transfusion.
A little fact that there are four blood groups: A, B, AB, and O, each having a positive or negative. Type O positive is the most common, with 45 percent of our nation’s population, while the more rare, with three percent of the population, is AB positive. AB positive blood type is also a universal donor for plasma patients.
With a blood type of O negative, which only seven percent of the population has, you have gold running through your veins. This blood type can be given to anybody in a situation where doctors and nurses do not have time for a blood type test.
Most commonly after a blood donation, your blood is spun to separate red blood cells, also known as whole blood, platelets and plasma. The test tubes are sent to the Red Cross Testing Center for testing for diseases and other blood borne issues and when cleared, each unit is carefully stored and distributed.
The testing process is rather quick since even blood has an expiration date. The whole blood can be stored for up to 45 days when at the correct temperature. Plasma can be stored for up to one year when frozen.
From personal experience, the needle may look big but isn’t more painful than a regular flu shot. It took me an entire class with a phlebotomy certification to see the importance of donating my blood to a great cause. Since 2009, I’ve donated my type O positive seven times and one day, hope to work for the Red Cross to show my appreciation for the program.
“The need is constant. The gratification is instant.” Spread the word and help out the community. Call or visit the Red Cross to donate, volunteer or ask any questions you might have at 1-800-448-3543 or redcrossblood.org.