There are very few things we can do for the benefit of others that also directly benefit ourselves. Sure, monetary donations to charities provide some modest tax benefits down the road and donating time can look good on a résumé, but truly symbiotic acts are uncommon in this world.
Selfless donations of money and time should certainly provide a sense of pride and happiness within the donor, as you are putting yourself second to a cause, person or organization that you deem worthy of your investment. Doing things for others shouldn’t be about finding ways to make yourself benefit, of course.
However, when you can find a cause that is both beneficial to others and yourself, it can be doubly satisfying and meaningful. This is why giving blood should be a consideration to everyone healthy enough to do so.
To donate blood is to possibly give the gift of life to somebody else who needs it and, depending on your blood type, you may be the savior to someone who has no other chance at survival. The American Red Cross reports that 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, that’s nearly one donation needed every two seconds of every single day.
Donating blood is easy. It doesn’t take a lot of time and you don’t even need a particularly high pain tolerance to do it either. People with diabetes who must inject insulin go through the most painful part of the process – a prick of the finger in order to test iron levels – multiple times a day to check their glucose levels. The actual blood donation takes mere minutes, and recovery takes an evening at most, but usually much less time than that.
The benefits to others is clear, but many people might not know about the benefits to the donor as well.
Blood donation organizations like the Rhode Island Blood Center understand that having your blood voluntarily drained for the benefit of somebody you’re almost guaranteed to never meet isn’t exactly the most ideal marketing venture, so they will often sweeten the deal during large donation events, such as the one that was just held this past Monday at the Crowne Plaza, which drew well over 300 people.
Each donor received a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card just for walking in the door and registering. Every donor was also entered into a contest to win tickets to Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour visit to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. As if these incentives weren’t enough, to aid in your recovery they brought in pizza, sodas, water, finger sandwiches, biscuits and Oreos – all available for free, and they encourage you partake in their enjoyment as part of the recovery process.
However, being showered with food and concert tickets is not the only thing in it for you, the donor. Studies have indicated that donating blood can have some very real, very significant health benefits as well. Donating blood can increase your blood flow, help you burn up to 650 calories from simply lying down, decrease your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease (if you donate regularly) and provide an overall sense of positivity and happiness in certain individuals.
Another added benefit some might not realize is that you get a sort of mini health checkup from your donation as well. In addition to getting your iron levels, pulse and blood pressure checked by a health professional, several vials are filled with your blood in order to be put through more than 10 different tests such as tick and mosquito-borne illnesses and HIV – they have to do so before allowing anybody to receive your blood, for safety reasons.
Depending on your insurance, these tests could be costly, and you get the results in the mail a few weeks later for free, in addition to finding our your blood type – an important fact that precious few seem to know off-hand, which would be necessary should you ever wind up in a situation where you need to rely on the kindness of somebody else’s donation to survive your own health ordeal.
When you consider that every human has a pint of blood for every ten pounds they weigh, and that you only donate one pint per donation (which can actually save up to three people), it seems such a low price to pay for the enjoyment of so many benefits.
Contact the Rhode Island Blood Center today to inquire how you can give blood, and do so often – it could be the best thing you ever do for somebody else, and for yourself as well.