We interrupt this outdoors blog for a public service DEMAND

Rob DriesleinAt ballgames, political rallies, and on holidays, we regularly and rightfully honor Americans who put their life on the line through military service or as police, firefighters, or in other emergency roles.

But there’s a simple task Americans from all walks of life can perform to save lives. It’s called donating blood, and in a nation that prides itself on patriotism, I think donation rates in this country stink.

The Mayo Clinic reports that only 5 percent of eligible donors across the nation donate blood. Meanwhile, statistics show that 25 percent or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime. That’s an embarrassingly out-of-balance equation.

Giving blood takes me about an hour every eight weeks – between driving a bit out of my way on the evening commute and actually donating. The 10 minutes of the needle in my arm is uncomfortable but not painful. I enjoy chatting with the employees at the blood center, and they always send me out the door with a complementary cookie and can of Coke. Other side benefits include a mini-physical once every two months. Blood pressure check, temperature, pulse, plus they’ll prick your finger and check your hemoglobin.

So, have you given blood lately? If not, why not?

Don’t whine about “not liking needles.” I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys having a needle jammed in his arm for 10 or 15 minutes. Man up.

And you’re not too busy. No one’s life is so important that he can’t find a half-dozen hours per year to donate blood. Bring your smartphone, and you can doodle on Facebook or Twitter with your right arm as blood drains from your left. At least you’re saving a life while wasting time on social media.

Here’s an outdoor connection to this blog. Some people get deferred because they’re too small or because of iron-poor blood. If you’re reading this blog, odds are you don’t have those excuses. Meat-eating hunters generally have plenty of iron infusing their hemoglobin, and the words “small” and “hunter” rarely appear together.

Statistics show that 25 percent or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime. I bet that rate is even higher for active sportsmen. Who knows, that pint of blood you donate may save your own life.

Did you know, per Mayo Clinic that each whole blood donation can help as many as three people. One unit is divided into three parts: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Also, there’s a need for more donations during the summer. Regular donors are more likely to be traveling and active during the summer so they forget to donate. Simultaneously, they are at an increased risk for accidents. So this is prime time for you to donate blood.

I consider donating blood a civic duty. Plus, when I die – if I accomplish nothing else – I’ll know in the neighborhood of 10 gallons of my juice is keeping other people ticking around the globe. Blood donors regularly save the lives of cops, military servicemen, veterans, and kids.

Still not convinced? Then how about this: free beer.

Memorial Blood Centers in the Twin Cities has a promotion going on right now called “Donate a Pint, Get a Pint.” You get a free soda or beer, plus a quality pint glass, for doing what you should be doing anyway: donating blood.

I’ve been going to Memorial Blood Center to donate simply because of its proximity to my home. Red Cross has donation across the region, too. I don’t care where you go, just do it. Just donate blood.

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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