Most of you who know me know that I have lots of volunteer activities in my life. One of which I hold very close to my heart is working with The American Red Cross as an apheresis donor. Those of you who are squeemish my want to stop reading at this point.
Apheresis consists of both platelet and plasma donation. Platelet donations help people with leukemia who are undergoing chemotherapy, patients recovering from surgery, burn victims and more. The entire process of platelet donation takes about 2 hours from start to finish. First you have to fill out the required paperwork then they take your blood pressure, iron count and temperature. If you've passed all of those steps then you're ready to pick out your movie and get in the chair. Last night I came prepared, I had School of Rock with me. Love Jack Black. He's so hot. OK, sorry back to the story.
Apheresis is a 2 needle process meaning blood is taken from one arm, spun through a machine where the platelets are collected, then the remaining blood components are mixed with a coagulant and returned back to me in the other arm. I only give one unit because I'm small, bigger guys can usually donate 2 units. The entire process usually takes about an hour and a half, which is the reason for the movie! I get to sit back in a comfy chair and watch a movie with my very own headset as to not bother the other donors watching their movies. After wards I snack on cookies and juice (oops, there goes the healthy eating).
I try to donate once every two months and especially around the holidays. I consider it a gift to myself and someone that I do not know. Well, last night as I was being prepped by the nurses they informed me that I was a direct match with a donor and my platelets would be sent directly to a person I only know as Randi. It didn't hit me until the drive home how this small act of kindness that is so easy for me to do has made such a great impact on another human being. It's truly overwhelming.
With that, I urge any and everyone that is able to, at the very least, donate a pint of blood. Donating whole blood is quicker for those of you on the go and can definitely help save a life. I will even come with you if you are nervous and hold your non-donating hand. :)
The American Red Cross
(800) GIVE LIFE