Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Selfishness Soapbox

I just got back from Widget Co.'s quarterly Red Cross Blood Drive. Widget Co. makes it very easy to sign up for a time slot, and it generally takes an hour from start to finish. Or longer if you eat a lot of cookies.

I was talking with the vampire who was bleeding me, and she told me that, according to American Red Cross statistics, less than 5% of eligible donors actually donate blood. Ever.

There are certainly some legitimate reasons for not donating. Many people are ineligible for various reasons. Obviously, that's legit. Others have a pathological fear of needles. I'm not talking about "not liking" needles; no one likes them! I'm talking about an actual psychological condition that makes donations impossible. I have a coworker (RacerDude) who wanted to donate blood and get on the National Bone Marrow Registry when another coworker's friend was dying of leukemia. RacerDude is pathologically afraid of needles. Nevertheless, he went down, did all the screening, and sat down for the needle. Unfortunately, every time they came near him with the needle, his blood pressure shot up to the point where they couldn't take blood. But he tried. I respect him more than I can say for that. People who suffer from this type of issue have a legit excuse. On the other side of the spectrum, I once dated a big, strong, thinks-he's-so-tough, Harley-riding, knife-wielding guy who also claimed he was afraid of needles when I invited him to go donate with me. I urged him to go, but he said he just couldn't bear it. Two months later, he started getting tattooed, spending tens of hours under a needle. So let me get this straight, if it benefits you, you're not afraid, but if it benefits someone else, you're afraid...?

Have you ever been to the hospital? Ever had non-elective surgery? Ever had a family member in an auto accident? Then you should recognize the need for blood. Every single person who is eligible to donate should make it a priority to go at least once a year. Widget Co. employees don't even have the excuse that it's hard to find time to go. The company sets it up and lets you go on work time!

If we all do this, then there would be no danger that, when your loved one is in desperate need, they could get turned away. Stop being selfish. It costs you nothing to share it. And you get cookies.


Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you donated blood and even happier to hear you mention the stats of folks who also donate. We need more donation. I ask my friends and co-workers all the time to donate. I offer to drive them to the place even. Nearly every person I ask is extremely fearful of needles. So, to the "vampires" please be very kind to the babies and kids so they won't be so fearful. Perhaps less fear early-on will guarantee future donation later in life. It's worth a shot...haha. I didn't even mean that as a pun but whatever!

BikerPuppy said...

Yeah, my parents encouraged me to go (my dad was some sort of super-donor with gallons of donations before they retired him from eligibility), and that helped. They made us feel very proud of helping others in a critical way -- without donors, people die. It's a fact. You're right, though, the vampires should be really sweet. Sometimes they forget that some of the donors are scared. I've had some none-too pleasant experiences myself, but it's worth it.