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Blood Donation – A gift of life

Once in a while, you get a chance to make a difference in someone’s life – by donating blood.
That chance happened on 30-06-2022 when we at Vtiger volunteered to donate blood. The HR team at Vtiger, in conjunction with the Lions Blood Bank, organized a blood donation camp. There was excitement, especially with the first-time-donors. The pride on the faces of these first-time-donors was worth watching.
Personally, I felt they were more excited about the juice, cookies, and apples that were given to them after the donation. πŸ™‚
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If you were to make a list of good deeds, blood donation is way up along with organ donation and saving someone’s life. Many of you might have never donated blood, and some might have misgivings about doing it.
Let me try and clear any doubts you might have.

So who can donate blood?
The basic requirement is that you should be a healthy adult between the ages of 18-75 and weigh at least 50 kilos. Then there are other requirements:
  • Your hemoglobin levels should be 12 and above. This might vary depending on where you live.
  • Your blood pressure levels should be normal. They should hover around 80/120.
  • If you have diabetes, you should not be insulin-dependent.
  • You should not be suffering from a cold, cough, or fever.
Read this article to learn more.


Who cannot donate blood?
At our event, some of us couldn’t donate for various reasons. I have hypertension, and my blood pressure really shot up because of white coat syndrome. Even though I have a high haemoglobin level of 15, they did not allow me to donate. That does not mean I did not get the apple!
Then there were two seemingly healthy individuals whose haemoglobin levels were below normal. And a lady who was on her menses.

You need to be on the healthier side to donate blood. You should not be pregnant, and neither should you be suffering from diseases such as cancer which will have weakened your body. You should not have Hepatitis, HIV, or any other illness that can be transmitted through blood.
Always check with your local blood banks or hospitals about who and who cannot donate blood.


What are the benefits of donating blood?
Surprised? Don’t be. There are many benefits to donating blood.
My great grandmother used to say it is ok to bleed once in a while, for then you will get ‘new blood’. New blood will make you brighter and healthier. She must have been right.
One study states that giving blood actually lowers the risk of a heart attack and even cancer. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, blood donation reduces stress, improves emotional well-being, gets rid of negative feelings, etc.


Will donating blood make me weak?
Some people feel weak for a few hours, but most recover within an hour or less. One article says, ‘Many people feel a weakness in the arm where the needle was injected.
You will be advised to avoid intense physical activity or heavy lifting for five hours after you donate blood’.


How often can you donate blood?
You can donate blood once every 8 – 12 weeks.
Here is what the American Red Cross Blood Services says: You must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood and 16 weeks (112 days) between Power Red donations. Whole blood donors can donate up to 6 times a year. Platelet apheresis donors may give every 7 days up to 24 times per year. Regulations are different for those giving blood for themselves (autologous donors).


How long does it take to donate blood?
The entire process, from registration to check-up to donation to recovery, will take up to an hour and a half. It is as easy as that.


Why should I donate blood?
  • Because your blood can literally save a life or three – someone in an accident, someone going for surgery, a cancer patient, and many such cases.
  • Because there is always a shortage of blood around the world.
  • Because blood cannot be manufactured. It has to be transferred from a healthy person to someone in need. In fact, Red Cross declared a blood crisis amidst the Covid pandemic (during an Omicron Surge). It was a first!
  • Because someone needs blood and or platelets every 2 seconds.
Did you know that a pint of blood can actually be distributed among three people?
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I started donating blood when I turned 21. With healthy haemoglobin levels, I even signed up with an NGO that connected you with those that required blood. There is a level of satisfaction in knowing I might have contributed to saving someone’s life.
As I write this, I think of the infant scheduled for heart surgery who needed O+ve blood. A whole bunch of us (my colleagues and I) landed at the hospital. I heard later that she was a healthy four-year-old running around merrily with a healthy heart.


Donating blood is truly a gift of life. If you are still thinking about it, stop and act now.
Who knows, the next stranger that walks past you in the mall might be someone whose life you might have saved.

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