If you’ve never donated blood before, Red Cross Donor Specialist Anna Michel gives us a short description of what your donation process is like.
"We get up to the computer and we ask them for a donor card or ID. If they have neither, then we go to an alternative of 2 forms of ID without picture, but you need an address, name, date of birth type of thing…. And then we move on to a physical findings. It’s like a little mini physical. We get your height, your weight, your pulse, your temperature, your blood pressure. We test your hemoglobin to make sure… we all want to make sure you’re 100% before you help somebody else."
You then have to answer some questions about how you’re feeling, if you’re on any medications, and if you’ve been to any areas outside the United States. Most people opt to donate whole blood because the process is easy and doesn’t take long, but Mallory Brown,the Executive Director Mohawk Valley Red Cross, tells us there’s also a need for blood platelets.
"Platelets are really crucial for people battling cancer, and so that process is a little bit longer. It takes about 2 hours, but we have a really comfortable facility here, and you can donate platelets every 2 weeks. So whole blood is every 56 days, and platelets are every 2 weeks."
It only takes a little time and you could be saving the lives of up to 3 people, so what little discomfort you feel donating doesn’t even compare to what someone on the other end is receiving. You’re not going to know specifically who your blood is helping, but West Winfield Donor Chris Jones knows his donation is making a difference.
"I’ve met some people that their kids actually have need of it, so that’s a really heartwarming type of thing when you meet somebody that actually uses it, or needs it."
If giving blood isn’t your thing the Red Cross is always looking for volunteers to assist with registration and the canteen area. Andy Meachan tells us what it means to volunteer.
"It’s just the satisfaction of being of help to other people and having a purpose. You know, doing something good."
The Red Cross tells us you can sign up to donate and even speed up the process by filling out some information on-line:
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