One hour out of your day could save a life

It’s one of those things I’ve been meaning to do, honestly, for more than 20 years.

Donating blood. You’ve seen the flyer posted in your office break room, or heard a public service announcement, or walked by a blood drive.

“Who has time?”

“I don’ t like needles.”

“They wouldn’t want my blood anyway.”

Being808 gives me a wonderful opportunity to learn about people who are committed to living a healthy lifestyle in Hawaii. They inspire me, and since we launched the blog, I’ve challenged myself to take positive steps every day and put aside the excuses that tend to hold me back.

I last donated blood in college. An FAQ from the Blood Bank of Hawaii includes this fact:

“Your single donation can help save up to three lives.”

Better not to focus on what could have been had I been a regular blood donor all these years. Now it’s about moving forward and choosing to give.

The Blood Bank makes it very easy. If the two donation centers on Oahu aren’t convenient, you can catch one of two Bloodmobiles that go to shopping malls, community centers and schools. Or you can consider hosting a blood drive at your business, school, church or other organization.

A few donation rules to remember: Get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods that are rich in iron. They tell you to avoid coffee, which is really hard for me. If you’ve had a tattoo or body piercing within the past 12 months, you will not be invited to donate. You may also be deferred based on travel to countries where you might have been exposed to malaria and other diseases during specified time frames.

Once you get to the location, the process is very easy: show your photo ID, fill out a health questionnaire, have a finger-prick to test your blood for iron, take a blood pressure check, answer some health questions and then it’s time to donate. The blood bank folks are extremely helpful and professional.

The nurse will examine your arm, sterilize a spot on the crook and start the donation. The initial sting hurt a little bit, but not enough to keep me from donating again. I’m already signed up to give again on July 20.

The experience took about an hour total, but the actual donation process lasted only about five to eight minutes. A beep goes off to let you know you’re done. You remain relaxed for five minutes or so, then you’ll be invited to have a snack and juice to replenish.

It’s humbling to think that an experience that took so little out of my day will have such a significant impact on people of this community.

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