Blood Donation: the Unforgotten Gift

The average number of holiday gifts per person is 14—and many don’t remember Christmas presents received one year later. Now that the gift-giving hoopla is over, here’s one memorable present you can still give: blood.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood and cancer patients often need blood during chemotherapy treatment. In addition, blood is needed for women with complications of pregnancy, children with severe anemia and other complex surgical procedures.

Did You Know?

  • Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients of all blood types, but it’s most often in short supply. It’s also the type of blood used in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known or when newborns need blood.
  • One donation of blood can yield red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate—all from one pint of donated blood.
  • The Red Cross only accepts blood donations from volunteer donors.
  • Currently, there is no substitutes for blood despite research being done to identify alternatives to blood transfusions.

How do you donate blood?

First, go to, type in your zip code and select the red “find a drive” button. Before donating blood, make sure to eat a healthy meal and drink 16 ounces of water. Once at your selected blood donation center, follow four easy steps:

  1. Register showing two forms of identification.
  2. Answer a few confidential questions about your health history and have your temperature, hemoglobin, blood pressure and pulse checked.
  3. Complete your blood donation. A blood draw for one pint of blood takes approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Enjoy a light refreshment while your body adjusts to the slight decrease in fluid volume. After 10-15 minutes you are free to leave and continue normal daily activities.

Here’s the payoff: not only do you get a mini check-up when donating blood, you help your body more effectively circulate blood and balance out your iron levels. More importantly, you leave the donation center feeling good about helping others in need of life-saving blood.

The wrapping paper, bows and boxes are a distant memory, but giving blood—the gift of life—is one present you’ll remember next year.

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Sources: American Red Cross,