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October 24, 2012 - Leah Sherman
My husband has been encouraging me to donate blood for years. Finally, this week, I decided to give it a try. And, you know what? Sometimes the fun is in being a do-gooder — giving of yourself.
It wasn't entirely selfless: I did get a sticker, a granola bar and a bottle of water. See? Everyone benefits.
I know it sounds scary. And I was still thinking of ways to back out as I was filling out my paperwork, smiling feebly at my husband. But the truth is, there's no reason to be scared. The blood bank staff explains everything to you, asks if you have any questions and does everything they can to make sure you're comfortable. The entire experience is low pressure and completely safe.
One little prick in the elbow pit (I'm sure that's not the technical term) and the blood is flowing into the bag, which is out of sight (good for the queasy among us).
One nurse told me that donations don't take more than 20 minutes; I was done in 15 minutes or less. Just lay on the cot for a few minutes — to avoid dizziness — after they patch you up (with your choice of brightly colored bandages) and you're on your way, with a snack to boot.
Plus, you have a feeling of doing good for others for the rest of the day.
The current blood drive continues today (Wednesday) from 7 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Kahului Ward Gym, 125 W. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii will be returning to Maui in December for blood drives at the Cameron Center and Maui Economic Opportunity and in Lahaina. To schedule an appointment, go to the Blood Bank of Hawaii's website (link at right) or call (800) 372-9966 (from the Neighbor Islands).
According to the website, "You may donate if you are in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, have a valid photo ID with birth date and are at least 18 years old (or 17 years old with signed Blood Bank parent/legal guardian consent form)."
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The sticker I received for being a first-time donor.