“Are you sure you’re alright?” the nice lady in the volunteer’s apron asked as I sat, head down, on a metal folding chair next to a card table piled with snacks.
“Because you’re green.”
Okay, so I wouldn’t be at my best until the room stopped spinning, but wooziness aside, I felt pretty good.
I’d just given blood.
According to the American Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds; meeting that demand requires over 38,000 pints of the stuff each day. Given those daunting numbers, you might think my measly contribution doesn’t amount to much, but you’d be wrong.
One pint of blood—when distilled into its individual components, such as plasma and platelets—can help up to three people. Not a bad return on investment. Or a bad way to spend an hour, because the Red Cross makes it easy—although not entirely painless—to give.
“You’re going to feel a quick stick and then a burn,” the tech at the Frederick, Maryland, donor center told me as she approached with the needle.
Craning my neck as far in the opposite direction as possible, I braced for the worst.
I won’t lie: It hurt. But paper cuts hurt, too, and so do splinters. Yet both are infinitely survivable. And neither saves lives.
But the sting of this particular needle? A small thing, especially when I think of how many people I personally know—including my husband and our kindergartner—who’ve needed blood products in the past.
And, yes, I did turn a little green when it was over, but that’s no surprise. I’m a colossal wuss who gets queasy just making meatloaf.
A bottle of water and some pretzels later, though, and I was upright again and ready to schedule my next donation.
Are you ready to schedule yours?
The American Red Cross urgently needs both blood and platelets. Click here to find the nearest donation center.
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