Lifetime Habit

A habit I have engaged in since my late teens.  My dad got me hooked and it has become a lifetime habit.

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The first time I donated blood was with my dad.  He told me it would be a lot of fun.  I recall being too young to donate without parental authorization as I was still a teenager.  That was eleven gallons ago!  I was a skinny young lady then and barely made the weight limit.  Whether you weigh 100 lbs or 200 lbs they take the same amount of blood for the donation, one pint.  When I stood up after my donation my knees promptly buckled.  I’ve gotten used to the donation process now and have only fainted one other time.  Most people don’t have this problem.

 

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The whole thing from start to finish is about one hour of your time. The actual donation is on the average less then 10 minutes. The rest of the time is answering a questions before donation about general health along with a quick check of your vitals such  as taking of temperature, pulse, blood pressure and iron level in your blood and at the end of the donation spending a few minutes having a snack and something to drink.

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I am missing an antigen in my blood so my bag gets bright orange sticker tagging it as a special unit.  For someone in serious condition missing the same antigen my blood could be a lifesaver for them.  Their antibodies could react with incompatible donor blood cells triggering a reaction from the immune system. These transfusion reactions can be lethal.

I would need blood missing the same antigen if I should ever need a transfusion, I hope those who have benefitted from my donations have become donors too!

I’ve been told that because of the missing antigen my blood is sometimes put on a plane and shipped to somebody in need, this could be in the US or even international.

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Ah yes, the canteen.  After your donation since you have just donated a pint of blood you need to sit and have a snack and something to drink before you get back to your day.

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Every minute of every day somebody needs a transfusion or other products from blood donations.  One pint of blood results in a donation of red blood cells, platelets and plasma.

The donation of 1 pint of blood is more then one gift, it is many gifts that may benefit more than one life.

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Regular blood donation is critical especially since only a small percentage of the population donates blood.

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Here’s some additional facts about blood and blood donation:

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I am A+ and I used to donate platelets. However, when it was discovered my blood was missing an antigen I was asked to switch to donating whole blood.

I think my dad would be happy to know I’m still having fun donating blood!

Facts from the Bonfils blood donor web-site:

  • One whole blood donation can save and enhance the lives of up to three patients.
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. requires a transfusion of donated blood.
  • You can donate whole blood every 56 days, up to six times per year.
  • Currently, four percent of Colorado’s population generously donates blood.
  • Whole blood contains red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells.
  • Blood is produced inside the bone marrow.
  • The need for blood is constant.  Red blood cells are useable for only 42 days and platelets are useable for only five days.
  • Blood products are used in a variety of medical treatments including helping kids with cancer feel better and saving the lives of car accident victims.
  • Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body and are needed most after significant blood loss through trauma or for patients undergoing surgery or experiencing anemia.
  • Platelets are essential for blood clotting and are routinely needed to support cancer therapy, open-heart surgery, blood disorders and organ transplants.
  • Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood and is used to treat patients with severe burns and clotting disorders.
  • An organ transplant patient may need up to 100 units of blood.
  • Bonfils needs thousands of volunteers to give blood each week to meet Colorado’s needs and to be prepared for unexpected events.
  • If all blood donors gave two to four times a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
  • If you started donating at age 16, you could potentially donate more than 300 times, helping more than 900 patients by the time you turn 70.
  • Bonfils’ highest gallon donor has donated 85 gallons of blood or 680 pints, saving and enhancing more than 1900 patients lives.
  • All blood types are needed.  Often the most common blood types are the most frequently transfused.
  • O- blood type is the universal donor.  O- blood can be transfused to any patient regardless of their blood type.
  • The most common blood types are O+ and A+.
  • It takes about an hour to make a whole blood donation.
  • After one unit of blood is donated, the body replaces the plasma within 24 hours, the platelets within 48 hours and the red blood cells within 56 days.
  • Your body produces four to five billion red blood cells in an hour.
  • The average adult body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood.
  • Bonfils Blood Center provides Colorado with a majority of its blood supply.
  • Bonfils has seven community donor centers and up to 10 mobile blood drives each day, making donating blood an easy and convenient way to volunteer.
  • A blood donation given to Bonfils is typically shipped to a hospital or community in need within 48 hours of your donation.
  • Bonfils Blood Center provides blood and blood products to nearly 200 hospitals and healthcare facilities in Colorado and beyond.
  • Bonfils Blood Center efficiently uses more than 97 percent of donated blood.

 

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