Giving Life

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  According to the American Red Cross’s Website, 4.5 million American lives are saved each year by blood transfusions. This means that every two seconds, another person is in need of blood.

This striking number should be a call to action for Americans to give, but as of recent years, the donation numbers have dropped. Less than 10% of the population actually gives blood (Central Blood Bank).

One donation can save up to 3 lives, and every two seconds someone is in need of blood. 43,000 pints of blood is received in the US and Canada, and in the number 53% of this blood donations being woman and which means the 47% are men. With all this blood coming in it still sometimes isn’t enough, one in every seven people that enter a hospital are in need of some time of blood (

There has been a long history of blood donating full of trial and error. The first count of “giving blood” is when the ancients Egyptians started “bloodletting” when you would drain someone of their blood to get the disease out, of course this did not work and ended up killing the patience . This trend continued in 1800’s through every rarely worked. Over the years many advancements were made in the field of blood. But jump forward to 1901 when the three main blood types were discovered A,B, and C (which was later changed to O). When war came giving blood became a vital part of helping save soldiers, but the problem at this point and in the future was that at this point no one understood all the diseases you can contract from another person’s blood, in the 1980’s many contracted 

American Red Cross logo

AIDS this way. Through the getting here has been a rocky road it’s safe to say that all was for the greater good because now there is a safe way to give and receive blood. 


Most people have experienced a friend or family member in an emergency situation that called for that person to need blood. To have this blood ready in an emergency situation, the hospitals  must have all types of blood on hold before the tragic event occurs.


Why are people not giving blood?  


Some individuals are not physically able to give blood. For instance, some people often have a hard time giving the mandatory amount of blood because their blood clots up before he can give it all. There are various reasons people are disqualified for giving blood. Some of these reasons are only temporary, such as my dad. Examples of this are low iron levels, high or low cholesterol, a recent visit to a third world country, or a new tattoo or piercing. People with these disqualifies  on the day of giving may be able to give in the future if their circumstances change.

Other times, people are disqualified for more permanent reasons such as a disease, too low of a weight to height ratio, or a period of incarceration. These are all valid reasons to not give blood, but most reasons heard in the student hallway are not these reasons.


Many student use the excuse of being scared of needles. Though this could be true, according to Health Line, only 10% of people actually suffer from a phobia of needles.

“4.5 million American lives are saved each year by blood transfusions””

— American Red Cross

Another reason for not giving blood is because of a lack of information. Many people are misinformed about the reality of giving blood.  Giving blood is very safe. Every transfusion uses a clean new needle that is given by a trained professional. The chances of infection are slim to none.  


Generally, people lack the passion to give blood because they lack the understanding of its importance and lack a knowledge of the safe process of giving blood.


Lisa Yoder, a former Red Cross employee, gave more insight to the process of giving blood. She explained how the blood donated goes directly to a lab where it is tested for HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases. Then the blood is separated into platelets, plasma, and red blood cells. All of which are then transfuses into people for various reasons. When someone gets a blood transfusion, it is only the red blood cells which have been separated out. Yoder then assured that the giving blood donation process is very safe and have been perfected over the years. She also explained that the red cross personally trains and certifies all their employees.


Giving blood is important. With every natural disaster or mass casualty, there is a greater need for blood, on top of the everyday medical needs for blood. A donor named Laura said on the Red Cross Website, “I wish I could tell you my donor how grateful I am for your selfless act… Because you took 20 minutes out of your day I am well again. Thank you for sharing such a vital part of you.”

With this new information now students can make a more informed conclusion about giving blood.

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