Today’s world is filled with superheroes. We follow their adventures on screen, we look up to them and you would be lying if you said you never wondered what it would be like to have a superpower!
While I can’t promise you the superpowers of Spiderman or Superman, neither can I guarantee you the abilities of Iron Man or Black Widow, I still have a solution for you to become a hero: donate blood!
Think about it, what do superheroes do? They save lives, right? Well, with one blood donation, you can save up to 3 people’s lives. So who’s the real superhero here?RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
If you are still not convinced, do not worry; I still have many arguments that will definitely make you change your mind.
Why do people not donate?
According to the Red Cross, there is an estimated 38% of the American population who is eligible to donate blood. The reality? Less than 10% of that eligible population actually donates.
So why do people not donate? We use a lot of excuses, but many of those are just that; excuses.
“I am scared of needles” – While I can conceive that the fear of needle is a real one, donors have explained that the only thing that comes close to pain is a one second pinch when the needle is inserted in your arm; nothing more.
“I don’t have enough time” – I get this one as well, we are busy people trying to make time for everything in our lives; but the entire donation process takes about an hour. An hour during which you get to save people, and you also get a mini overall check-up and a blood exam. Even better, you get all of that for free.
“I don’t have enough blood to be able to give” – This one is mainly a pre-conceived idea: we have around 8 litres of blood in our body, out of those 8 litres, only 470 ml will be taken. Such a small amount can easily be replaced by your body in the next 24 hours.
How is my blood going to be used?
By now you know that donating blood save lives, but how is it going to be used? Who is it helping?
Do not worry, that’s the reason I am here: to enlighten you!
There are three types of donation: whole blood, plasma and platelets; however, in this article we will focus on whole blood as it is the most common blood donation, and a plasma or platelets donation can only be done if you have already successfully given whole blood in the past two years.
When you donate whole blood, your donation will not directly go to a patient; it will first go to a lab, where the red blood cells, the plasma and the platelets are separated. Depending on the need of a patient, he or she will either receive the whole blood or a specific element from your blood.
Indeed, the blood you donate can be used as medical treatments for 22 different diseases and conditions. This includes cancer and blood diseases (34%), anaemia (19%) surgical patient including open-heart surgery and burns (18%) but also pregnant mothers, new mothers and young children (4%) and trauma including road accidents (2%).
Does the donor get any benefits from donating his/her blood?
While donating blood is mostly a selfless act, the donor also gets a fair share of benefits from this simple action.
1. Saving another human’s life.
Saving a life is a pretty unique feeling, and definitely one that doesn’t encounter every day except if you’re a surgeon, a fireman, a police officer, etc. However, by donating blood you are saving the lives of up to three other human beings.
2. You get a mini health check-up.
Before donating your blood, you will have to first undergo a quick health exam, to make sure that you and your blood are healthy. That includes measuring your temperature, your pulse, your blood pressure and haemoglobin levels.
Even better, your blood will have to be tested for 13 different infectious diseases, including HIV, and you will be notified if any of the test come back positive. And all of that for free!
3. You can burn calories from laying down on a bed.
Yes, you have read this right. One blood donation helps you burn 650 Kcal without actually doing anything except from laying there and waiting for your blood to be donated.
4. Free goodies.
Ranging from free snacks or juices to free t-shirts and stickers; you can get a few free goodies after you finished donating your blood; and who doesn’t like free food and drinks?
5. Your blood will flow better.
It is not clear exactly how or why, but regular blood donation helps the blood flow better in the body, which results in fewer arterial blockages. Indeed, a study by the American Journal of Epidemology found that 88% of blood donors are less likely to suffer a heart attack, strokes and cancers.
6. You can extend your life expectancy.
Donating blood, along with other volunteering and selfless activities, have been found to extend your life if done for altruistic reasons.
Indeed, a study by Health Psychology discovered that subjects who volunteered with others in mind had significantly reduced their risk of mortality after four years of regular donations.
7. It helps regulate your iron levels
When you donate blood, you also lose a small amount of iron that was in your blood; which you then restore through the food you eat. While it might not sound like a great benefit, it actually helps your blood vessel by preventing abnormalities, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
The only thing left for you to do is to go out, find the nearest donation centre and give your blood. Help save the world, one person (or three) at a time.
For more information:
Red Cross Blood Donation Website: http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood