By Maddy Bergey
Have you ever wanted to be a heroic member of society who saves lives? Well, perhaps you could fulfill your childhood fantasies of emulating a superhero by doing a simple action: donating blood! Although sometimes overlooked as a crucial need for so many people, blood donation is simply vital. Not only does blood donation help countless others to have far-reaching effects, but it also can provide a clearer sense of self, due to a simple act of good will.
This substance that courses through your veins has the potential to not only keep you alive, but many others as well. Essentially, it is truly a gift of life! According to an article published by the World Health Organization, some examples of the usage of blood include accident victims, anemic children, and cancer patients. This proves the expansiveness of blood’s ability to aid so many different people suffering from very distinct matters. Not only can blood save a single life, but its components can save multiple lives. When separated into the red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, each element can be used in different ways. The supply of blood for medical usage must constantly be replenished, since it is solely created in the body and has a limited shelf life, according to an article published by WHO.
When you give blood, the process is relatively simple, although it is extremely thorough. Firstly, a series of questions will be presented to you upon your arrival to give blood; the answers help to ensure the safety of the donor’s blood. Though an interrogative sequence, it ultimately determines whether or not a person is eligible to donate blood. Once the decision has been made, a brief medical examination will follow; this includes assessing one’s blood pressure and pulse. Additionally, a drop of blood is then taken from your fingertip to ensure the iron within the stream is sufficient. Once these steps are completed, the donation process commences. After the arm is cleaned with an antiseptic wipe, a sterile needle is inserted into the vein. During this 10-minute process, the blood is being transported from your body to a bag, where it will then go off to save lives!
Although there are certain criteria ranging from country to country for donors, most healthy people from the ages of 17 to 65 are permitted to donate. Giving blood can occur every eight weeks, but be sure to check with your local blood service. This process is proven to be safe, as it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies. Taking these precautions guarantees that all parties involved in the donation process are protected, including the donor, blood supply, and recipient.
Speaking of blood drives, Fillmore Central High School will be holding their annual drive on Thursday, November 3, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Each year, the National Honor Society members host this in order to give back to people both within and outside their community. Usually, the students at Fillmore Central are the primary donors, although sometimes extra community members are needed to fill the spots. Last year, I, myself, was one of the donors at the school’s blood drive. Not only did it go smoothly, but it also felt rewarding, knowing such a simple act can be so vital for others in need.
If you feel so inclined to donate—whether at Fillmore Central’s blood drive or another local blood drive—there are multiple key steps to note. Days leading up to your donation appointment, be sure to fill your diet with healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Any iron-rich foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, beans, and spinach, are important to consume while leading up to your appointment, according to the American Red Cross. Furthermore, medical professionals also recommend staying well-rested and hydrated.
Whether or not you have donated before, signing up to donate will forever be an act that has far-reaching impacts on people both near and far.
Maddy Bergey is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of 17 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 24th year.