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Becoming a Blood Donor
Donating blood can be a daunting idea if you have not done it before. The sorts of questions flying around your mind might include worries about how much it could hurt and simple confusion about exactly what will happen during the donation process.
What Is It Like To Donate Blood?
When you arrive at a blood drive or donation center, you will need to sign in, provide some ID and answer some basic questions to ensure you are eligible to donate. You will also undergo a quick health check and an interview about your medical history. Your blood will be screened after you have donated, and you will be informed of any problems that have been detected, but it is best to avoid taking blood from someone who might be at risk of carrying an infectious disease. If you think you might have been exposed to any illnesses, you should avoid donating until you have been tested or enough time has passed since you have traveled to an at-risk area to ensure that you are not infected. After your health check, you will be ready to donate. About a pint of blood will be withdrawn through a sterile needle. You might feel a small pinch when it is inserted, but that is all. Once you have given your blood, you will be given something to eat and drink while you recover. The whole process is very easy, but incredibly worthwhile. There are plenty of great reasons why you should become a blood donor. If you can’t donate yourself, you can always volunteer at a blood drive or convince some of your friends and classmates to come and give their own blood.
Top 5 Reasons to Become a Blood Donor
1. Donating Blood is the Easiest Way to Save a Life: If you ever dreamed of being a hero and saving someone’s life, then donating blood could be the easiest way for you to fulfill your ambition. Simply by sitting down for ten minutes while your blood is collected, you can give someone back their life. Your donated blood could be used to help someone who has been injured in an accident, to ensure that an operation can be conducted safely, to treat someone who needs regular transfusions to treat a serious medical condition such as sickle cell anemia, or to help a woman to recover from childbirth. All of these uses could be life-saving, and just a single pint of your blood could be enough to save up to three people.
2. It Won’t Interfere With Your Life: The donation process is relatively quick. It might take about an hour in total. Once you have registered, answered some health questions and had your short check-up, it usually takes just ten minutes to donate, with another ten to fifteen minutes of recovery time afterwards. You can then go about your normal day. Some types of donations, such as giving platelets, can take longer, but the effects on your body will still not last long. Your blood volume will return to normal within 24 hours, and your red blood cells will have been replenished in six weeks. You shouldn’t feel any different while this is happening.
3. You Get a Cookie: Once your blood has been taken, you will be offered a drink and a snack while you recover. In addition to this sweet treat, you can also enjoy the warm glow of having done a good deed.
4. You Can Find Out What Blood Group You Are: If you don’t already know your blood group, you will find out as part of the donation process, which can be an interesting bonus, particularly if you are taking a class in biology that covers the genetics of the ABO blood types. Knowing your blood group could also prove useful in the future if you need to undergo medical treatment of receive a donation yourself. In addition to learning about your blood group, you will also receive a mini-physical when you donate. Your pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels will be checked, so you may get some advice on keeping your own body healthy.
5. Your Help is Needed: The reason why blood drives are so keen to get you and your friends to donate is that there is a desperate need for more blood. Although about 60% of the population would be eligible to donate blood, only about 4% of people actually become donors. The blood that is donated can only be stored safely for a limited amount of time, so the stocks always need to be replenished. Certain blood groups are often in particular demand, so if you have a rhesus negative blood group, if you are a universal donor with O negative blood, or you are in a blood group that is currently needed in the area, your blood could be even more useful.
Find Out More
- The World Health Organizations answers the question “Why should I donate blood?”
- 10 Facts on Blood Transfusion from the WHO
- The Red Cross describes the Donation Process
- Blood Recipient Stories from the Red Cross
-Reader, Jennifer Fallow, contributed information on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, you’re interesting in SRCC or are a new memeber and aren’t quite sure about some things about SRCC? Well, no worries! You came to the right place!
What does the club do?
Student Red Cross Club focuses on blood drives, in particular volunteering and promoting blood drives. Check out the Volunteer tab for description of blood drive volunteer opportunities. We also participate in THON, Relay For Life, and just have fun in general with various socials throughout the year.
Is the only way to volunteer with SRCC at a blood drive?
Although blood drives are a huge part of our volunteering opportunities, they are by no means the only thing to do! We participate in THON and are close to two THON families, which requires plenty of organization and helping hands. You can also get involved helping officers and chairs maintenance all of the important things they have to do to keep the club up and running. Also, our downtown chapter offers plenty of courses, such as Day of Disaster training, CPR/AED certification, and First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor certification, which is a great way to serve your community even more! There are countless ways to get involved with SRCC!
Where do I sign up to volunteer for events?
You can sign up to volunteer for events by going to volunteer.psu.edu/redcross.
How do I become a member?
Anybody can be a member, there are no hour requirements for membership, however 15 hours of events through the Student Red Cross Club is needed to become an active member.
How do I become an active member?
You can become an active member by volunteering for 15 hours worth of events through the Student Red Cross Club. These include meetings, which count as one hour, service events, volunteering at blood drives, etc.
I can’t go to meetings, what do I do?
While going to meetings is good, if you can’t make meetings, that’s okay. Sign up for our List-Serve by sending a BLANK e-mail [empty message and empty subject] to [email protected]. Be sure to check out our Events tab for upcoming events and meetings!
Do I need to go to meetings?
You can get by without going to meetings, but a lot of time we talk more more in-depth about events at the meetings, so it’s a good idea to try to make it if you can. We also will reward you with one hour towards your active membership status for each meeting you go to.
Where can I find the meeting locations?
The meeting locations will be posted at the Events tab and in our weekly e-mails to the List Serve. If you’re not on the List-Serve, sign up by sending a BLANK e-mail [empty message and empty subject] to [email protected].
THON is the largest-run student philanthropy in the world. It’s a dance marathon that raises money for pediatric cancer. It’s a big deal at Penn State, so check out www.thon.org for more information.
Who are the officers?
The officers are important in keeping the club up and running. We’re friendly people, so check out the Officers tab for our bios (just click an officer’s picture to see that officer’s bio) and well as our office hours, which are in 221C HUB.
What’s the difference between the downtown office and the regular office?
The downtown office is located on Pugh Street right across from the parking garage. That office is the local American Red Cross’s chapter office. The regular office is located on the second floor of the HUB in room 221C, right next to the elevators. We use the HUB office for our office hours and for various club things. In general, when we talk about the office, this is what we are talking about. The office on Pugh Street is only used by us when we need something from the American Red Cross, such as scoreboards for challenges. We’ll always reference this office as the downtown office or the Red Cross office.
Where is the regular office located?
The regular office is located in the HUB, on the second floor, in room 221C. You can find it by either taking the elevator to the second floor or by taking one of the stair wells.