Author: Amber Pharmacy
January is National Blood Donor Month when we recognize the people to generously give life and encourage others to do the same. This month we share Susan McSorley’s personal experience as a regular blood donor.
According to the American Red Cross, one blood donation can potentially save up to three lives. Susan, a Senior Billing Specialist at Amber Pharmacy, donates blood regularly. Susan has donated over 60 units of blood, which means she may have saved more than 180 lives.
Making Blood Donation Convenient
One of the main reasons Susan started giving blood is convenience. “They had a blood drive on campus when I was in college,” Susan remembers. “It just seemed like an easy way to help people, so I did it then and just kept going back.”
The American Red Cross and community blood banks across the country continue to make it easy and convenient for you to donate blood. Reminder phone calls and mobile blood banks help people work giving blood into their schedule. “There was a donation site across the park from my previous job,” says Susan. “It was really easy to go there, give blood and head back to work.”
A Personal Reason to Donate Blood
Whether it’s to save lives or to get a free snack, people donate blood for many reasons. For Susan, her decision to become a regular blood donor was personal.
“You always hear stories about bad accidents and stuff but for me donating blood is personal,” says Susan. “My dad and my sister-in-law both needed blood because of health issues. It was amazing to see how much better they felt after receiving a couple units of blood.”
Donated blood can be used a number of different ways and all of them save lives. Your blood donations could help an accident victim in an emergency. It could treat a new mother who lost too much blood after childbirth. Donated blood is used to treat people with serious medical conditions such as cancer, anemia and other blood disorders. Blood is needed during surgery and can even be used to research new lifesaving medications. No matter how your blood donation is put to use, it’s always valuable and life giving.
The Importance of Donating if You are Able
One common excuse for people to avoid blood donation is the belief that other people have it covered. People think, “Someone else will donate blood, so I don’t have to.” The reality is that less than 38 percent of the population is able to give blood. Since someone needs blood every two seconds, it’s important for everyone who is able to donate.*
If you’re hesitant about giving blood, Susan offers encouragement to new blood donors and people who have had a bad experience. “Don’t let one bad experience stop you. Be sure to try more than once and keep going back.”
The first time Susan gave blood was the only time she’s ever had any hiccups. “The very first time I donated, I got really light headed,” remembers Susan. “That was the only time I had any problems.”
Knowing if You’re Eligible to Donate
Blood donation is for people of all ages, not just young adults. “I always thought it was neat when moms would bring their kids in to watch them give blood,” says Susan. “It was also cool to see older people donating. It’s really for people of all ages, not just young people.”
“There have been times when I’m unable to donate because I’m sick or my iron isn’t high enough, but I always go back,” says Susan. Low iron or feeling sick can prevent you from giving blood. If you’re wondering whether or not you’re eligible to donate, be sure to ask. The Red Cross provides a resource for Frequently Asked Questions about how medications, health conditions, travel and lifestyle choices can affect your eligibility. If you’re taking medications or managing a chronic condition, be sure to talk to your pharmacist at Amber Pharmacy before donating blood.
How to Donate Blood
If you’re ready to save lives and donate blood, it’s easy to get started. To find a blood drive near you, simply visit the American Red Cross website or call 1-800-RED CROSS. “They make it so easy and they give you a snack,” says Susan. “What more could you want?”
*Statistics taken from the American Red Cross website.