Why I donate.

19 May

Before my health went all wonky that past couple of years, I was a fairly regular blood donor. Now that I’ve been properly diagnosed and I’m finally on the right treatment path, I’m looking to get back into regular donation. I am also an organ donor (noted on my driver’s license), and I just received my kit via mail to add myself to the bone marrow registry to be listed as an available bone marrow donor.

Anyone who knows me know I rarely do anything out of a sense of duty. I am a selfish person, and highly recommend that lifestyle.

So, why in the world would I be so into being a donor of various types?

To put it plainly, if something awful were to happen to me, I’d want as many people contributing to the pool as possible to increase my chances of survival. By being a donor myself, I am contributing to a system I think is good and helpful. I also am fairly knowledgeable about the processes and can be a fairly informed advocate, which ideally leads to more people who might consider donating who might not have otherwise.

It’s also pretty damn cool to be able to say you saved someone’s life. This is more concrete in bone marrow transplants, as you know what the donation is being used for and you only are called for a specific person – oh, and you’re still alive when donating (unlike the DL indicated organ donation), but you still know you’re helping someone who is still pretty bad off with blood donations as well.

One other reason I donate is that I know MANY people who can’t for various reasons. My husband loathes needles of all kinds, I have a friend with lupus (which bone marrow candidates cannot have), I know many women who struggle with iron deficiency, plenty of people are not organ donors due to religious or post-death wishes. I am a person who is as healthy as needed to donate regularly, has no problems with needles, and generally feels pretty good about the whole process, and plans to be cremated after I die. There’s too many people in the world who can’t donate – I am one who can, so I do. I also encourage others who are healthy and have no qualms with the process to do the same.

I see the whole process as something you invest in, though to the immediate observer it may look like a sacrificial act. But the culture it creates and the cycle it initiates and perpetuates will ultimately come round to benefit you someday if it is needed. It’s almost like insurance. If I can be one more person asking people to consider being a donor, that’s one more chance to increase the numbers, and one more chance to save my life if anything bad happens to me.

For those interested in donating:

  • Check the box the next time you renew your license, or go to your local government agency’s webpage to update your organ donor status.
  • Register at Be The Match to be on the Bone Marrow registry.
  • Check out the Red Cross page for info on how to give blood. If there aren’t any red cross centers in your area, you can also visit www.aabb.org.
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