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Why it’s important to donate blood

Isabella Santoro

Staff Writer

It seems like the population of people donating blood has decreased vastly over the years. The Rhode Island Blood Center has been trying for a few years to get many more donations. It is very important to keep the blood supply stable so that people in dire need of blood are able to get what they need. Those with the universal blood type, O negative, are especially needed to donate because their blood can be given to any other blood type. That is not to say that the other blood types are not needed, because they desperately are.

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One reason why we are seeing a major blood shortage is because of how busy people are these days. It has been one of the busiest travel seasons to date, especially since people have been able to travel more due to the loosened restrictions since the height of the pandemic. Back to school activities have also impacted the amount of donations that blood centers and Red Cross is seeing. This is very true. People are busy with work and school and do not have time to go to a blood drive or to their local blood center. It usually takes about an hour and sometimes people don’t even have that time to take out of their day. Another reason why people may not be donating blood recently is because they don’t see what the benefits are. Blood donation is not like plasma donation where people can receive money for donations. Plasma donation also takes significantly less time to recover from. After donating blood, they are not able to donate again for 56 days, or about two months. If they are in good health, it is possible to donate up to six times a year. People are also often scared of blood donation, especially needles and the possibility of seeing their own or other people’s blood. They are afraid of the side effects and risks involved in the process. Yes, it can be risky and can be terrifying to donate blood, but the process can go by fast if you take your mind off of it.

There are many reasons why blood donation is important. As mentioned above, due to the decrease in donations, it is more vital now more than ever before. There are disasters in our world that call for life saving donations. Many people usually donate after a natural disaster, but blood is needed every single day, not just when tragedies strike. Another very important and dire fact is that there is no alternative for blood. Blood is needed for survival and when someone needs a transfusion, they need it then and there or they will not be able to survive. Many people might think that their blood will not be used, but if you are in good health, meet the requirements and you haven’t heard anything from the blood center you donated to, your blood will more than likely be used to save someone else’s life. That’s an incredible thing.

I know that I feel good after I am able to donate blood. I try to donate at least twice a year. I know that if I were in a dire situation and needed blood to save my life, I would be very thankful for the person who donated their blood to me. Even though my blood type of A positive can’t be donated to everyone, I am still able to help a large percentage of people with my blood.

It may seem daunting or feel like a chore, but when you think of the life you could save with your blood, it might not seem as bad. If you meet the requirements, take a day when you know that you have at least four free hours after donation, as it is suggested that the doner takes at least four hours after donation to rest. Even if you end up not being able to donate that day, you can always try again later and encourage your family and friends to donate. Blood centers need as much blood as they are able to get and any type is very welcome.

If you are interested in donating blood, do your research on what the requirements are and make sure you fit them. If you do not, don’t be discouraged as there are many other ways you can help people. By telling your family and friends about local drives, you are helping. Look up what times you are able to donate too, if you are interested. The Rhode Island Blood Center allows for whole blood donation almost every single day and at very convenient times. One of their centers is located not far away from RIC, in Providence. If you aren’t in the area, they also have other centers listed on their website. RIC is holding a blood drive on November 8th from 10 am to 5pm. If you are able to donate, please consider donating during this time.



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