Each and every day, thousands of volunteer blood and platelet donors roll up a sleeve to help save a life through the American Red Cross. The reasons behind why these donors give are as unique as the donors themselves.
This summer, many generous volunteers took a few extra seconds at the end of their donations to write down their thoughts. When handed a postcard that started with only the words “I give…” they shared answers that surprised, delighted and sometimes touched the hearts of the Red Cross staff members who saw them.
THE SIMPLE Sometimes, just a few words can say a whole lot. “Because it’s the right thing to do,” was a phrase spotted over and over again for why people give. “To help others,” was also a common theme. The gratification donors feel when giving also shined through in answers like “…because it makes me feel good to help others and it doesn’t take a lot of time,” and “…because it’s very satisfying to know you can make a difference.”
THE INTERESTING Based on some cards, it became obvious that a well-developed sense of humor is a personality trait shared by some blood donors. One donor answered, “…because it’s the coolest thing you can do,” and drew a stick-figure dinosaur with a word-bubble saying “so cool.”
Another blood donor used an interesting metaphor, saying “….because blood is like a parachute. If it’s not there when you need it, chances are you’ll never need it again.”
THE POWERFUL Some blood donors have a deep, personal connection to giving a lifesaving gift. Many expressed their gratitude to blood donors for helping to save the life of a family member or friend and their desire to help someone else the same way.
“I give because when my daughter had open heart surgery and needed blood, it was available,” wrote a donor named Amy.
“My youngest sister had many units of blood during cancer treatment,” shared another.
“Because I have lost both parents to cancer and I have a very close friend going through it right now. Knowing my platelets can help a cancer patient brings so much comfort to me,” wrote a regular platelet donor.
Some donors have also received blood in the past. “Three to four years ago, I needed a blood transfusion after my son’s birth,” one donor wrote. “I feel this is the right thing to do. I like to help mankind and we never know when we may need help. If only everyone who could give blood would, this would be a better world. We will always have emergencies.”
ANY REASON IS A GOOD REASON Whether someone has a personal story or just a general desire to help a patient in need, any reason to give blood is a good reason. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Making an appointment to give blood or platelets through the Red Cross can help save a life.
HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.