I haven’t donated blood in twenty years – which gave me the status of first-time blood donor today at the Canadian Blood Donor Clinic around the corner from my office (extra cookies and juice for me!). Gotta admit, I’m feeling virtuous at the moment, even as I note that my spelling/typing is a bit off – and it’s obvious from the way other donors in the clinic carry themselves that they feel pretty good about donating too. Funny that, of all things – blood donation is pretty simple way to get to a selfless act and doesn’t take more than an hour every couple of months. If you want to get really serious, you can go for stem cell and marrow donation too – which are a lot more invasive and require time off work for recovery.
Things I found out at the clinic today included:
- Apparently I pump blood up to three minutes faster than the average for women. 10 minutes is the average, and I pumped a litre in 7 minutes which they promised me would be even quicker next time.
- Federal government workers are *big* donators – which I am guessing is linked to some notion of civic responsibility and public service.
- Lots of things can screen you out from donating (having had cancer or malaria, having lived in England during the Mad Cow years, being gay after 1977, having been born in Africa after 1977, etc. etc. etc.), – which means that only a certain percentage of society is allowed to donate.
- The reason we don’t see mobile blood clinics in our workplaces and campuses anymore is due to funding cuts.
- The majority of donated blood is actually used in patient treatment – and there is a shortage of blood in the donor system to treat to the level of need.
Interesting stuff, yes? So I’m a newly-converted donor and thinking this is something I could do every 56 days or so. The clinic is just right around the corner and it feels good to be in a room full of people feeling they are there to do the right thing. It’s some easy virtue and it doesn’t cost a thing.