It happens every year about this time.
Someone comes to town trying to get a hold of other people’s blood. In fact, they want lots of it. And they’ve got all kinds of tricks to lure people in, including offering them free ice cream.
The perpetrator of this trap isn’t some kind of twisted serial killer or pervert. But the people who respond to these come-ons do deserve to be treated as heroes.
So who is it that wants our blood? It’s the American Red Cross. And the heroes? Those are the people who donate blood.
The Red Cross conducts blood drives year-round, but in the summer, the organization starts to get a little, well, desperate. That’s because donations tend to dip in warmer months while need stays the same.
According to the Red Cross, June can be among the most challenging months of the year because of the upset to people’s schedules as summer gets underway. And now, the Red Cross is working to overcome June’s shortfall.
Giving blood is a truly amazing thing. In less than an hour, on your lunch break or on your way home from work, you can save a life (or more than one).
It does cost time, which is a precious commodity for some people. It isn’t painless, and some people occasionally feel dizzy or lightheaded during or after the process. And not everyone can give blood.
But for most of us, it’s the easiest way to feel like a superhero that we’ll ever experience.
The Red Cross has a few suggestions for would-be donors. People who want to give blood are encouraged to eat a healthy diet, especially right before donating, and to drink plenty of water and get lots of rest.
Blood donors have to present identification, and fill out some paperwork about medical history and medications. Information is kept confidential. A short medical check will also be conducted.
The blood draw itself takes about 8 to 10 minutes, during which time about a pint of blood is collected. Donors usually sit down or recline. The site is then bandaged, and donors are usually offered a snack or beverage.
In addition to swag such as ice cream and coffee, blood donors often get buttons or stickers with slogans such as “Be nice to me. I gave blood today.”
We would suggest another slogan: “I saved someone’s life today.”
If it weren’t for giving blood, it’s not a button many of us would be able to wear. But thanks to the Red Cross, most of us have the chance to make that boast with pride.
To find a blood drive near you, go to redcrossblood.org, or call (800) GIVE LIFE.