Originally published on Unwritten by Brittany Christopoulos.
With the horrible news coming out for Texas, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Las Vegas, the push for blood donations are on a high. For some areas, it’s because their hospitals have been diminished and they are starting from square one again, while for others, it’s because they have so many patients in need that they are simply running out of blood to give.
For decades before millennials were even close to being born, blood donation was pushed internationally. That meant that every country that had the technology and ability to do so, urged the public to go in and donate. It was a cultural norm to donate! And while the urgency for blood in surgeries and regular day-to-day usage has become less prominent thanks to modern technology, we are still in desperate need for blood.
The main factor is because the loyal donors over the past 60 some-odd years are either no longer able to donate or are passing away. 60% of blood donations in the US are from people over the age of 40.
But guess what, a ton of Americans are banned from donating blood based on their sexuality. The FDA made the ban back in the late 80’s when the AIDS epidemic was starting to grow (so long before it got gigantic). *NSYNC member, and openly gay man, Lance Bass has voiced his frustration over it, and I agree with Bass’ fight.
It’s ridiculous that in today’s day and age gay men (in particular) are completely banned from donating blood. I understand why they did it back then, but can they not test their blood so they can still donate if the FDA is still that worried? If they were able to donate, think of the increased numbers we would see!
So until that happens, we need to get millennials on the donating bandwagon to help save lives, since a large chunk of people are prohibited from doing so for their sexuality.
Those aged 16-22 make up 20% of blood donation population (in the US), that isn’t the case for around the world. And we need to step our game up. In general, people in their twenties donate less than 10%, and we are the easiest people to get ahold of, so why aren’t we donating? We should be.
Whenever tragedy strikes, the urgency increases because everyone in surrounding areas give their supply, thus losing theirs. Blood donations literally save lives. Even if it isn’t to save someone in a horrific accident or a victim of a shooting, it saves cancer patients.
My aunt just had the hell of a fight against a rare form of cancer and required blood transfusions weekly for a very, very long time. If it wasn’t for donors, she wouldn’t be here and she wouldn’t have kicked cancer’s ass.
There are so many places you can donate in your community! Some countries provide centers in their hospitals while others have places in small communities almost regularly for donors to go and give blood. From high schools, college campuses, malls, or pop up shops, there is no excuse as to why you can’t find a local place to make a contribution to a cause.
Are you afraid of needles? Don’t worry! There are plenty of volunteers who are there to distract you and help calm your nerves. They also provide free snacks and juice to help with the aftermath! It’s like having your mom there, but sometimes better!
Plus the overall feeling of donating blood and knowing you’re saving a life is such a humbling feeling. Imagine you’re giving your blood to a survivor of the Vegas shooting, or to a little girl desperately in need after the devastation in New Mexico, or the elderly lady down your street fighting a horrible disease. Who knows, one day you could be the recipient, praying for other kind people to donate to help save your life too.