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Every year, millions of people are dying due to a deficiency of healthy blood cells. They are suffering from a variety of illnesses – sickle cell anemia, cancer, hemophilia (just to name a few) – and are in need of blood donations that could save their lives.
However, such a small percentage of Americans choose to take the time to go to a blood drive once every 56 days and take an hour to answer some questions and get a quick pinch of a needle. Why? To ensure the safety of donors and recipients, there are a set of requirements for eligibility to donate blood. Typically, the donor must be in good health, be at least 17 years old age (although in some states 16-year-olds can donate blood with parental consent), and weigh at least 110 pounds. This leaves only about 38% of the American population eligible to donate (primarily due to their health). Being overweight, which has become a serious issue in the country, definitely isn’t a good sign of health. This is yet another reason people should take better care of their bodies, because you never know how many other lives you can save by donating blood, or even organs, for patients who might not otherwise survive. There are also many people who are genetically underweight which makes them poor candidates for blood donations because of the impacts that extracting blood would have on their bodies. However weight isn’t always a good indicator of health, and even if you fit the weight criteria, it’s important to ensure that you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
Still, out of the 120 million Americans who are eligible for blood donations, only 9.2 million of them actually donate blood. Usually it’s either due to the lack of knowledge about the immense positive impacts, or due to a very common fear of needles. Of course hardly anyone enjoys being poked with a needle, but that fear is nothing compared to the pain and fright hospital patients feel when they are told that, without a blood transfusion, their life could be over. We can impact the lives of other generations by giving someone another chance to live. So I say its time to get over the egoistic fear and do something selfless and compassionate. Before giving blood you must eat a good meal, avoiding fatty foods (that might have an effect on the test results for eligibility), drink a lot of healthy fluids and get enough sleep. The process might not be very enjoyable, but it’s completely worth it.
In 2010, in the city of Brick, New Jersey, Molly Clare was born. After birth, she was immediately rushed to the NICU after being declared severely anemic and her life depended on a blood transfusion. Because of a charitable act of a stranger, she was able to obtain the blood she needed to survive and today is a happy and healthy 4-year-old. Her parents say that after that terrifying day, they have been donating blood regularly, and wish they could personally thank the donor who saved their daughter’s life. This is one of the many stories about a life that was saved due to blood donation, and it should serve as an encouragement and a wakeup call about how much your actions can affect the lives of others.
Adults have around 10 pints of blood in their body. One pint of blood is given during a donation. That one pint of blood could save the lives of about three people. Just think about how many lives you could save if you just went down to the blood drive just a few times every year and donated blood. You never know if someday your close friend, co-worker, family member, or even you might be the one whose life depends on a blood donation. Every donation matters, and if you were the one diagnosed, you would want someone else to do the same thing for you.
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