The #1 Reason to Donate Blood
Last updated: March 2023
A blood battle
Growing up, I always knew my blood would be my highest hurdle. Imagine being made to carry your enemy inside of you. All the while it destroys you from the inside out. And the worst part is, no one can see it from the outside. This was the state of my existence for over 3 and a half decades. During that time, I received several blood transfusions. Every one of them has been the only solution to my affliction at the time.
A warrior's perspective
Living with Sickle Cell can provide laser-like, 20/20 metaphorical vision. In certain scenarios, you can see a person's true nature, good or bad, whether or not you like what you see. Being isolated from others in the ways that patients tend to be, it becomes easier to spot who a person actually is. You become a better judge of character because it is at the bedside where one's true nature is revealed.
Everyone reacts to sickness differently, and as time goes on, you begin to predict who has the heart and who doesn't. It becomes painfully clear who will and won’t help you in your darkest hour. Pretty soon, you discover the sum of the person at that moment along their journey.
Why deny hero status?
During the Summer of 2022, I volunteered to host a blood bank booth at our city's yearly black expo. I had not quite expected to witness as many folks recoil at the mention of blood donation. After a couple of hours, I began to understand just how invasive it may seem to first-timers. I came to find not only were there way too many misconceptions, but also a never-ending list of excuses. I was disappointed by the sum of missed opportunities to become a life-saver and an instant hero.
The nitty gritty
So let's clear some things up, shall we? There is no substitute for human blood. Giving blood will not decrease your strength or vitality. One pint of blood can save up to 3 lives. Healthy red blood cells live up to 120 days in the circulatory system however, sickled red blood cells only live up to 20 days. Yes, you read that correctly. That’s only one-sixth of a normal expected lifespan.1
If all blood donors gave 3 times a year, blood shortages would be a rarity. So what holds us back?
A hero three times over
It is a sad fact of reality that some folks think nothing of life lost. Sadly, they are those who will hesitate to save 3 lives in less than an hour. Blood donation is one of the few opportunities in life that offers instant hero status.
In exchange for just one pint of humankind's ever-replenishing and most irreplaceable fuel, you are now officially a lifesaver. That's the most motivating reason to give blood. It costs nothing aside from one hour of your time and yields 3 lives saved. What's better than triple hero status? Not one hero cape, but 3. Not one happy recipient but 3!
Which of the following sickle cell resources do you find most helpful? (select all that apply)
Join the conversation