Donating blood is more important than you think

Let’s imagine something together for a moment.

You’re in the car, probably driving home from work or school. “Halo” by Beyoncé comes on the radio.

You’re singing and dancing a little bit (not too much though, because you’re driving).

You’re enjoying the ride when, all of a sudden, a huge truck comes out of nowhere and T-bones your little Toyota Camry.

You get rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. You’re on the operating table.

You’re losing blood, but there’s no need to worry, because guess what?

There’s this thing called a blood bank at the hospital that medical professionals can take donated blood from to use to replenish your blood supply.

Good news! You’re going to live! But how did that blood get there in the first place? Well, obviously, it doesn’t just magically appear.

People had to donate their own blood so that it could save your life in our hypothetical car crash.

Now, let’s get back to reality.

According to LifeShare Blood Centers, someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds in the U.S., and one donation alone can save up to three lives.

That’s a lot of life-saving for only 45 minutes of your time. So, why wouldn’t you donate if you’re eligible?

Sometimes the thought of being stuck with a needle is too much for some people. Maybe you’ve had a bad experiance before, or maybe you freak out a little at the sight of blood.

That’s OK. While this problem has never affected me personally, I do know a thing or two about overcoming your fears.

Yes, needles can be painful. However, in my experience with giving blood, the pain lasts for about a half of a second, and the actual giving blood part lasts for only about 10 minutes.

Then, there are people who never even think about giving blood, because they can’t find the time.

Or, they simply forget that donating blood is even a thing. I’m not judging. I have the worst memory in the world.

So, if you’re forgetful like me, and you don’t always have 45 minutes to spare, I’d suggest finding a day when you know you won’t be busy.

Then, write yourself a reminder, or pencil it in on your calendar so you won’t forget.

It may seem excessive, but donating blood is an important act where being a little extra is actually acceptable. Just this once.

Now, you might be thinking, “Does it have to be me? Are there not plenty of other blood donors out there?” Well, no, actually. There aren’t.

According to the American Red Cross, only about 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time.

That would be a good chunk of the population, except for the fact that less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually do donate each year.

So, there really aren’t that many other eligible and willing blood donors.

Despite all of our incredible medical advances, there is still no substitute for human blood.

And, considering that a single car accident victim may need as many as 100 pints of blood, I would say that it’s pretty essential to donate as often as you can.

There’s always a blood supply shortage, especially after natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The LifeShare Blood Center here in Monroe is located at 2909 Kilpatrick Blvd. and is open six days a week.

So, the next time you have a couple of free hours to yourself, when you’re thinking about going shopping or going to the gym or the movies, go donate blood instead.

Donate life.