I spent the morning at the Singapore Blood Bank yesterday. My husband and I are part of a religious society and we organized a blood donation drive. Our target was to get 50 donors for the blood bank. We didn’t meet our target, but we ended up with 25 successful donors. 11 people who came were turned away for various reasons- being on medication, having recently travelled to certain countries, not enough iron in the blood, or blood pressure that was too high or too low. I was the first donor. The last time I had donated blood had been almost 15 years before, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I settled back in the chair to wait for the process to start. In the end it really did not hurt much at all. My blood was extracted (is that the right word?) and it was pretty cool to see it flow, a rich dark red, through a tube into the bag. The nurse who set me up for the process also noticed that I had a very prominent vein in the crook of my right arm, and said that I could try donating plasma as well. Apparently that is a longer process, and it can be done once a month, unlike whole-blood donation which can only be done once in three months.
This set me to thinking. There is little I can do for the world at large. I have no medical knowledge and no money. I also have no time at present, given my commitment to my family, my work and my studies. But if my blood can help people, and it is so easy to give, then there is no reaason for me not to be a regular donor. God has given me health. I don’t look after myself as well as I should- I hardly watch what I eat, and I almost never exercise. But I am going to start. Because if being healthy means I can help more people for a longer time, I will do everything I can to stay well and whole.
If any of you are wondering about donating blood yourself, here is the low-down: you can donate blood from the age of 16 if you meet all the criteria, but until the age of 18 you need parental consent. Most of you who read my blog are too young, but you can start thinking about it now, so that you are prepared when the time comes. It should be something that you want to do- no one can force you into something like this. Also, there is something you can do now. Keep yourself healthy and fit. Eat well and exercise regularly. Stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking.
Your blood can save a life.