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Give Life. Donate Blood.
Photo: Penelope Berger
I have a thing about hypodermic needles. They bother me. I am a big, husky guy, but that little needle gives the chills. When I get a shot, I give the nurse a choice. Let me sit down, or catch me if I pass out. Most get me a chair.

Given that, guess what I do when there is a blood drive at work?

Would you believe roll up my sleeve and give blood? Not just once, either. I have a plaque for giving three gallons of blood. That is half again what is in me right now.

Why do I donate, despite my fear of needles? Because someone has to do it, and only a small number of people can. I sometimes get screened out due to high blood pressure, as I get older. (Thinking about that needle causes it to jump.)

Fewer People Can Give Blood

There is no real substitute for human blood. Not yet. Synthetics are getting there, but have shortcomings. Man cannot yet duplicate what God created. We have to go to the source – a human being – for the real thing. In an age of mad cow and AIDS fewer and fewer people can give blood.

Used intravenous drugs? Had sex with a prostitute or an IV drug user? Are you a man who has had sex with another man in the last 25 years? Blood centers cannot risk accepting you as a donor. People can – and have – gotten AIDS from tainted blood.

You do not even have to become involved in risky behavior to be ineligible. Because mad cow disease can be passed through blood, living in Britain or Eastern Europe may make someone ineligible.  So can being on many prescription drugs. Someone needing major surgery does not need other people’s medication.

That limits things to healthy stay-at-homes who play by the rules. Especially since many military personnel – a group is generous about giving blood – are now ineligible due to overseas assignments. That leaves folks like me – and maybe you.

It does not hurt to give blood – despite that creepy needle. I just look the other way when they put it in – they will not let you close your eyes – and do not look at my arm until they pull it out.

Giving blood may be good for you. Some studies show it may protect men and post-menopausal women from heart disease.

You can feel good about giving blood. It is the ultimate form of charity, literally giving something of yourself to those in need. The next time a bloodmobile shows up at your church or office, perform a death-defying feat. Give blood.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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