Hi everyone, my name is Rino and I am the president of the Student Red Cross Club at Penn State. I wanted to tell you a little about my experiences as a blood donor, to encourage you to keep coming back after an unsuccessful attempt.
In my high school we had an annual blood drive. I decided I wanted to help someone out, so I signed up to donate. I have so much blood in my body, I figured it wouldn't hurt to give some away. After checking in, a nurse took me to a cubicle area where she took my blood pressure and temperature. Then came the iron prick... Much to my surprise, my iron was too low. No donating for me, and because we only had an annual blood drive, I had to wait another year.
Senior year I came back ready. I had eaten more ground beef than I can imagine to pump my iron up. Luckily I passed the iron prick, but to my dismay, I found out my veins are really small. It definitely didn't help that I wasn't very hydrated. With some difficulty the nurse was able to get the needle into my arm, but after filling the bag about halfway, my vein collapsed. The nurse had to take the needle out of my arm and my half-filled bag couldn't be used.
I was upset but still extremely determined to donate, next time I just had to drink a lot of water! Once I came to college I knew I wanted to try again, I was excited!! ........ BUT then the third day I moved into my dorm room freshman year, my roommate and I woke up to a bat in our room. a BAT.. Seriously? and because they didn't know if it had bit us, we both had to get 7 rabies shots on our hips and arms. This meant a deferral of one year. Who thought giving blood would be so difficult?
Throughout freshman year I volunteered and tried to recruit others to try to make up for my disappointing deferral. I marked on my calender when I would be eligible again. When sophomore year rolled around I scheduled my appointment right away. THIS TIME would be the time. When the day came, I was so nervous. I was well-hydrated and iron-rich. After I passed my iron test I felt some relief. Then when the nurse got the needle in my arm I felt more relief. But it wasn't until the nurse told me that I was finished, that I was relieved and relaxed. I did it!!
Since then I have donated SEVEN more times (that's a whole GALLON!!). I have been deferred for iron several times, but that doesn't keep me away; I come back after eating more iron-rich foods. Because my veins are small, I have to make sure to drink a lot of water a few days before hand, and the nurse usually has to keep a blood pressure cuff on me while I donate. You might ask, why did I and still go through so much of a hassle to donate blood?
My honest answer is that my hassle is worth saving someone's life. If I can give a person another chance to survive, a chance to live a couple days longer, it is totally worth it. I may never meet the people I donate blood to, but I know that I am making a difference in someone's life. I think of how someday I may need blood myself or my loved ones may need blood, and that is enough motivation for me to keep trying.
I encourage all of you to keep donating. KEEP TRYING! Don't give up! Someone's life is counting on your donation...