Blood drives are like Christmas.

Youth Blogger: Hannah B.

Canteen area at this year's Super Donor Days!

This is the conclusion I’ve reached following a rewarding three hour shift of volunteering for the Red Cross’s “Super Donor Day” blood drive. It’s just as logical as Mike Myers’s infamous simile: “Ogres are like onions.” But for those who don’t see where I’m going with this, please allow me go into deeper detail for you.

First off, the obvious. Blood drives help aid those in need of additional blood by building up the supply of blood available for transfusions. These would be those people receiving gifts on Christmas. Patients receiving transplants, surgeries, cancer patients, premature babies, burn victims, and people with blood disorders are among those whom receive the blood transfusions. This means an immense amount of blood is needed. But what shocked me the most was that out of the 38% of the population eligible to donate, only 8% actually do so. Point blank, this needs to change.

The satisfied feeling a person obtains when they see a friend or family member unwrap a gift that he or she picked out and seeing their face light up can easily be compared to the after-feeling of giving blood. Blood donors and blood drive volunteers compare to those giving the gifts on Christmas. It’s difficult to imagine the holiday season without these people. In fact, it’s impossible. As is a blood drive without these essential citizens. Although there are requirements for height, weight, and age to donate, all volunteers are accepted. Many workers were overjoyed to have the amount of volunteers that showed up for the Super Donor Days. However, one observation disappointed me. There we five teenagers (including myself) volunteering that Thursday, and to my knowledge there was even less the previous day. It’s truly an experience that more than five of us should have. The staff more than insisted we take breaks–they made us take breaks. When we entered the “behind the scenes” area in the back there was an unbelievable amount of food—just for us volunteers! Donuts, juice, fruit, bagels, cookies, were just waiting for us to pile on our plate and pizza was on the way by noon. It’s true, we weren’t exactly worked to the bone. But with that said, helping out wasn’t any less rewarding.

At blood drives there’s an unexpected variety of volunteering offered. The majority of teenagers at the drive were musicians who played for approximately one hour shifts as donors gave blood. There are also donor aids, the most outgoing volunteers, who chat with the donors as they give blood to keep their nerves in check. Volunteers at the canteen do similar tasks; however, they not only chat with donors but distribute food (A perk to donating—they had Culvers custard and pizza!). Finally, many volunteers are needed for miscellaneous tasks such as handing out t-shirts—the station I was placed at after managing to escape the task of dressing up in the red blood drop costume to flag in donors (A perfect off-season task for those who enjoy being Santa’s elves at the mall during Christmas time. Or those merely seeking that kind of attention.)So who is up for a little bit of Christmas in August? Visit www.redcrossblood.org now to learn where to donate or volunteer at a blood drive near you.

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