It takes 45 minutes, door to door. I get drinks and snacks, television and magazines; I’m surrounded by friendly, polite, professional, expert staff. They give me t-shirts, CLF light bulbs and coffee mugs; they raffle off amusement park tickets, gas cards and vacations.
Just because there’s a needle in my arm for six minutes.
People think giving blood is a big deal. Something you do when there’s a disaster. Something climactic, dramatic, emphatic. Something out of the everyday. It’s not.
There are some limitations. You have to be at least 16, weigh at least 110 pounds, be basically healthy, and not a gay man. (That’s the one thing I disagree about.) Here are the Red Cross rules. Even with all of those restrictions, though, 60% of the population is still eligible to give – but only 5% of them actually do.
And it’s okay if you’ve never done it before. It’s okay if you’re afraid of needles. It’s okay if you’re absolutely scared stiff.
I used to pass out and cry, like clockwork, every single time I gave. I still won’t look at my arm while it’s happening, and I still really, really hate when the needle goes in.Â But I make a face for five seconds and then I look away from the crook of my arm. It’s not exactly a trauma or a hardship.
It’s six minutes every two months.
Almost five million Americans would’ve died in the last year without a blood transfusion. I can’t think of an easier, cheaper, faster way to do more good.Â So do it. Do it for the chocolate milk. Do it because you want to meet Mr. Â Claus. Do it because it’s probably the only way you’ll save someone’s life today.Â Just do it.