Save a life, get free stuff

Kelsey Henninger

What does it take for you to give blood?

Does there have to be incentives for you to let the cold sharp metal of the needle penetrate your skin, dive into your vein and release crimson fluid down a foggy tube into a durable, clear plastic bag?

Sooner or later virtually all of us will face a time of great vulnerability in which we will need blood, according to the American Red Cross.

Only 5 percent of the eligible U.S. population gives blood in any given year, according to Do we not give because it’s inconvenient or because we think we are not gaining anything from giving?

The first time I gave blood I was 17. I gave to skip science class junior year. My high school has an annual blood drive and anyone eligible to give can sign up for certain times throughout the day. Many students like myself would sign up for times that correlated with unfavorable classes. Getting out of class was my little reward for donating the right element to save a life.

The second time, I gave blood for community service hours during senior year of high school. We had to complete 21 hours in order to graduate and giving blood counted for 10 of those hours. Giving blood the second time was a double reward, I received the community service hours I needed and I got out of composition class that day.

The summer after my senior year I received a phone call from the American Red Cross asking if I could donate blood because there was a shortage that year. I am a universal donor, meaning anyone can receive my blood, so I am contacted often to give blood. That time I gave blood without outside motivation.

I realized giving blood boosts my self-esteem; at the end of the day I feel I have contributed to society. We have about 10 pints of blood and can donate one pint in about 10 minutes. The whole process of registering, giving and recuperating takes about an hour. Shame on me for thinking I should be compensated for my one hour.

I have given blood twice in college, and each time it has been for a Chipotle burrito. Well, I gave blood for the gift cards equal to the cost of a Chipotle burrito. It is a tantalizing treat that lures me into saving lives.

Every two seconds someone in America needs blood, as stated on the American Red Cross Web site. This alone should be enough to make me donate regularly. But the eye catching signs stating something free is given to those who donate reminds me it is that time to give again.

The American Red Cross’s policy states you can donate once every 56 days in the U.S. Your body replaces the lost fluids within 24 hours. That is about six free Chipotle burritos a year. I bet your blood will save more than six lives.

Kelsey Henninger is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Tell her what it takes for you to donate blood by contacting her at[email protected].