Human blood, platelets and plasma are natural resources that do not yet have (legal) synthetic alternatives – which means that when our stores run out, we’re out. That probably doesn’t sound so bad as you sit here scrolling on your phone. But to a trauma victim in the ER or the mother of a 4-year-old with leukemia, the prospect of not having access to blood when they need it most is a terrifying one.
I know, because I’ve been there.
No one wakes up on day planning to bleed to death – we cannot schedule it. We cannot predict it. But we can prepare for it. We are at the mercy of donated blood products and donation has never been easier. And if you’ve recovered from COVID-19, your donation could be a crucial part of treating those currently battling the virus.
January is National Blood Donor Month – will you help?
- Cancer patients
- Women who have just given birth
- Sickle cell patients
- Trauma cases
- Burn victims
- Chronically ill patients
Some of these patients need blood only once, while others must receive transfusions every month, indefinitely! The need is immediate. The need is constant.
And YOU can do something about it.
Let me walk you through how QUICK and EASY it is to donate blood and save the life of someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, brother, or sister…or even yourself. Do it after preschool drop-off or swing by on your lunch break – there is always a drive happening in Wichita somewhere!
How to Donate Blood in Wichita
Step 1: Double-check the eligibility requirements to make sure you can donate. Forty percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood, but only 5% do so. This number must change!
Step 2: Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App in the Google Play Store or on iTunes and fill out your account information. The app lets you know when there is a blood shortage in your area and notifies you when YOUR donation is on its way to save the life of someone in critical condition.
Step 3: Find a blood drive and schedule your appointment! If something comes up and you need to reschedule, you can easily do so within the app, searching by date or location. Invite a friend or take your kids along so they can see how important (and easy) in-kind giving can be.
Step 4: Prepare for your donation by eating iron-rich foods and drinking plenty of water! Get a good night’s rest – and if you’re donating platelets, remember to avoid aspirin for 48 hours prior to your appointment. Be sure to take along your photo ID, a list of medications, and your favorite book or podcast to keep you entertained. And don’t forget to wear a shirt with short sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled up to the elbow!
Step 5: Show up. You’ll zip through registration if you’ve already filled out your Rapid Pass – next is a quick mini-physical (with a quick finger prick to check your hemoglobin levels – you need to be 12.5 or higher to donate). The actual donation only takes 8-10 minutes – then you’ll be on your way tot he snack table for a cookie and some juice in the recovery area! Drink extra water the rest of the day and avoid alcohol for 24 hours.
Step 6: Reschedule your next appointment! You can donate every 8 weeks as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
Nervous about needles or afraid you’ll faint? You’re not alone! The Red Cross addresses the most common concerns here.
For more information on donation or how to host a blood drive, visit The Red Cross online here:
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