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Journal Writing Project - Making a difference - 2/21/11

Fri, Feb 18th, 2011
Posted in Journal Student Writing Project

By Katie Ristau

Saving lives, what a great thing! When you donate once, you can save up to three lives. Four and a half million Americans would die each year without your donation. A donation is needed every two seconds. More than 38,000 donations are needed in the U.S. daily. I'm not talking about donating money, or your time, or your services. I'm talking about donating blood!

If you are a healthy adult and 16 years or older, you can donate. You must be 110 lbs. to donate one pint of blood. If you were to begin donating at age 16 and donated every 56 days until you were 75, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially saving over 1,000 lives! It's amazing.

Most people don't donate blood because they are scared of needles, or they don't know how to do it, or they are not sure if they're eligible. But the truth is, it's really easy to donate, and there are plenty of websites to get facts or find a place to donate. For me, my high school has a blood drive every October. Also, a great thing about the American Red Cross is that after you have donated and you wait 56 days, they will contact you and inform you of any upcoming blood drives in your community. I think that giving only 45 minutes of your day about every two months to save three people's lives is extraordinary!

When I first donated, I was only 16 years old. I have now donated a total of three times, giving a pint every time. My goal is to be able to donate five gallons in my life. It's a big goal, but I want to do that. I must say I'm not all that fond of needles, but when I think about how I can severely affect someone's life, the needle is no longer a big deal!

There are so many people that will need a blood transfusion at some time in their lives; chances are that you know someone who has had a blood transfusion. About every one in seven people who enter the hospital will need a blood transfusion. Only 5 percent of eligible donors in the U.S. give blood, but the number of people who need blood increases by 9 percent every year. Those who need a blood transfusion, but don't have a blood donor, may die and donate their organs. They die because no one could help them, and yet they give their body to help someone else. Our bodies are magnificent pieces of work, and what flows through them is, too. There is no substitute for blood; you can't make it, only our body can.

I donate blood because I want to help others. It is the same reason I am becoming an EMT. Another fun fact is that one pint of blood weighs about one pound. So every time you donate, you lose one pound just like that! Make a difference in someone's life today, and donate! It is one of the very few opportunities you have that can significantly change a life and potentially save one.

Katie Ristau is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of 10 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its twelfth year.

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