A pint of Guinness contains 0.3mg of iron, less than three per cent of daily adult needs. #Onegative #donateblood #beersafter by @raleightl
When it comes to giving back to your community sometimes it’s not about time or money. It’s easy to think that the only way to give is in the form of time or money but I’ve found another way where when I give it goes farther: my blood. I’m one of the few with the blood type O negative. That means I’m a universal donor which is critical to those with more rare blood types who need transfusions. Luckily I’m not afraid of needles because I make a habit out of donating every time I become eligible again. Lucky the time between donations is long enough that my arms don’t have track marks all over them 😉
How I Got Hooked
I first started donating blood while attending college at Western Washington University during their campus blood drives. Excellent excuse to get out of math class and I’m pretty sure chicks dig it when you tell them you donated blood to save lives. I’m not really the shallow but seriously blood drives on campus are the ‘cool’ thing to do.
My Time in the Hospital
During my time in college I underwent two knee reconstructions that required pretty intense surgeries. These surgeries not only set me back in my physical activity but also temporarily disqualified me from donating blood for a few years. I received cadaver ligaments from dead people and the risk of me passing along whatever strange diseases they may or may not have had made me ineligible. I was able to fully recover, twice, and soon became eligible again to donate blood.
San Diego Blood Bank
When I transferred to go to school in San Diego at PLNU they did not have as many blood drives, much smaller school, so I get it. This was a dark time for my donation frequency where at one point I think I even told the blood bank people to never call me to ask to donate ever again (these people hound me because of my blood type). The real problem though was that the only blood bank in San Diego was nowhere near where I lived. So it was a matter of the stars aligning when I would randomly come across a mobile blood bank to donate at.
San Diego Blood Bus
In 2012 the start-up marketing agency I co-founded was able to move to an office suit downtown San Diego on Broadway. I had sold my car to pursue bike commuting the entire year and one day when riding to work I rode past the blood bus in front of the court house. After lunch I walked down there and filled out the long questionnaire making sure I hadn’t being doing any of the strange things listed on the form. I donated that day, and every 2 months since, because I understand how much it means to those who need my type of blood and their families.
My one issue with the blood bus is that they park right on Broadway which if you know it is a very busy street. Buses blow past the blood mobile and the whole thing shakes. Keep in mind this is going on while they are shoving huge needles in your arm. Every time I make it out of there without the bus getting rear ended I send a little prayer up!
Double Red Cell Donations
The last time I donated things were different. They told me that all my numbers were within range to be a ‘double red cell’ donator which meant I only had to donate every 4 months. As a busy guy I was all about this. Also after donating double red cells you don’t feel as drained as you do in a normal donation because they return all your plasma back into your system after sending you blood through a centrifuge. Most importantly it allows them the get more red cells which is critical with my blood type for newborns and trauma patients and emergency accident victims. Makes me feel really good knowing my blood donation goes strait to the hospital, not to the blood bank, and gets used by those who need it most.
Guinness to Replenish
They say when you donate blood you lose iron. Well Guinness happens to contain iron and it also just so happens that the brewery below my office always has it on tap. So anytime you see the blood bus parked outside the courthouse you’ll usually be bale to find me downstairs at the brewery replenishing my iron levels in the afternoon on those days.
I encourage any and all to donate blood as often as possible. Even if you are not type O- like me it still helps. Put yourself in the shoes of someone needing a transfusion and imagine that there was nothing available. The alternative to blood in the bank is ultimate so think about that next time you have the opportunity to donate.
If you are in San Diego you can make a blood donation appointment today. If you are reading this and you don’t live in San Diego I encourage you to find your local blood bank and make an appointment there and stick to it.