I’m here for the snacks.

blood donation

When someone asks me why I donate blood, I usually tell them I’m just there for the snacks. Truthfully though, it’s an easy way to ‘give back’ to a community without taking up a ton of my time or effort. My mother always tried to donate, but struggled with low iron so wasn’t able to donate as often as she would have liked. As a child, I remember my father going to the local donation center for a few hours to donate platelets. So I suppose I was raised with the idea that donation was not only a good thing to do, but that it was just one of those things that people did. Not until I was older did it really sink in that blood donations don’t even cross the minds of most people, and that it may be scary to those who do think about donating.

I attempted my first donation when I was a senior in High School. My mom and I went to a local blood drive to see if we could donate. Mom, as usual, was unable due to slightly low iron levels. One down, one to go as they say. My turn to donate came up, and I was nervous. I’m not a big fan of needles to begin with, but the staff was super nice and did their best to put me at ease. Man did that needle look big though! They got me all prepped and ready, I looked away and in the needle went. Only it didn’t quite go where it should have.  All of a sudden it felt as if electricity was running down my arm. They managed to overshoot the vein and jab one of the nerves. I ended up not donating that day, and didn’t attempt again for about ten years.

In my late twenties I became a mother. My hospital stay involved multiple needle sticks for various IVs resulting in me somewhat getting over my fear of needles after being stuck so many times. About a year later my office was having a blood drive. I gathered up my courage and decided that if I could handle IV needles for the birth of my child, I could probably handle the donation process. I managed to donate my first pint of blood, and found that although I still wasn’t crazy about needles, it wasn’t too horrible. Over the next few years I donated annually at the office when I was able. A few times I missed the work donation day, and decided to try the local Red Cross to donate which was only about a twenty minute drive from home. I started donating about twice a year at that point. For a few years I’d donate once at work and once at the local donation center. I loved that something that took so little time and effort could make such a big impact on the lives of others.

In 2016 I got married and moved. Lo and behold! My new home was less than 10 miles from one of the Mississippi Regional Blood donation centers. I still try to donate annually at work, but I now also donate several times a year at my local donation center. I have even passed my first ‘gallon’ marker with MVBC. I’ve gone from being terrified to donate, to it being just a regular occurrence. Every few months I take about an hour out of my day, to let a phlebotomist take about a pint out of my body. I’ve found that it really is the easiest and cheapest way to help others in need. Plus, like I said, you do get great snacks!

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