I started donating blood in high school.

I’d like to say I was an altruistic teenager, but I signed up with my friend Matt because I heard we could get out of English and that there were Lorna Doone and Famous Amos cookies involved. Once I found out it took the whole class period and there were juice boxes too, I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve donated off and on and have a goal to donate 4 times this year. January was National Blood Donor Month and has been observed since 1969. If you’re looking for something to do this year that benefits both your community and you, blood donations are incredibly needed.

blood dripping in to a heart in a graphic depicting blood donationA Few Facts About Blood

Cedars Sinai shares that:

  • Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • The average adult has about 10 pints of blood, but a typical whole-blood donation is only 1 pint.
  • You can donate whole blood every 56 days.
  • More than 1 million people every year are diagnosed with cancer for the first time. Many of them will need blood—sometimes daily—during chemotherapy.

I’ve never considered myself very heroic. I am actually quite risk averse. But when I found out that 1 pint of blood can save up to 3 lives in an hour, it felt like something I could do. I’m not squeamish about needles and have been told I have good veins, so I like to sign up to donate when I can.

Over the last few years, I’ve unfortunately had several friends experience urgent medical emergencies that required them to receive many units of blood. Because of the blood donations of others, these friends’ lives were saved. 

It may be my only chance at being a superhero, so I’m going to take it and help those I love.

Please consider blood donation if you are able. It is a simple procedure that could have a massive impact on another person’s life. You could be a bit of a hero yourself.

nurse in scrubs holding up a red heart in a hospital roomTo find out where and when you can donate blood, check out the Red Cross website or check with your local health department. You can also find more facts about donation and if you are eligible to donate.

Additionally, the Armed Forces Blood Program specifically provides blood for service members, veterans and their families. This program is the official military provider of blood services and can be found in military hospitals.