Who will you save?

Riley Cornelius, Opinion writer

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Without people who donate blood, I would have lost my mom at the age of four, due to leukemia and lymphoma.

I had just turned four when I heard the news and I was too little to understand what was truly going on with my mom. All I knew was that family and friends were crying and telling me my mom had a really bad bug. People were constantly coming to my house bringing Rice Krispies for me to eat to soften the mood. I remember her losing her hair and being scared for what was to come.

37% of those living in the U.S. are eligible to donate blood, yet only 10% donate annually. 4.5 million people need blood transfusions every year, and in 2006, my mom was one of those people. She was diagnosed with cancer a couple days after my fourth birthday, and for the next several months, my mom received blood transfusions every few weeks.

As someone who has seen on a first-hand basis how important it is to donate, you will see me being tested every 56 days in order to see if I am, yet again, eligible to donate.

 

The odds are usually 50/50 since I tend to have very low hemoglobin levels, which is common in girls. If I am, once I make it to the bed, it often takes around 20 to 30 minutes for the nurse to draw enough blood. Normally, this process should take 7 to 12 minutes.

The most common reaction to donating blood is feeling a little light-headed and sleepy for the next 24 to 48 hours, but because my level of hemoglobin is already unnaturally low, it can take up to a couple of weeks for me to fully recover.Despite these scenarios, I still choose to donate, due to the fact that one donation can save up to four lives.

A lot of people are scared to donate and I understand why. Needles freak a lot of people out and aren’t fun, but the needle part of the donation is super short. Some also fear that their donation will not make a difference or if they can even donate: But, how will you know, if you don’t try?

Ten minutes of being stuck with a needle is nothing in the long run. All I askistotrydonatingatleastonce.The one time you choose to donate may give some little girl her mom back; I know it gave me mine back. Donating saves lives, who will you save?

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