First-time donor in Hudson gives blood amid pandemic

By Laura McGuire, American Red Cross

During COVID-19, life’s emergencies didn’t stop – and neither did the work of the American Red Cross. The need for blood is constant and throughout the pandemic, the Red Cross is grateful for generous blood donors who take time to donate lifesaving blood.

Nic Peterson, from Hudson, is a first-time blood donor and recently began to donate blood.

“I was always curious about donating blood and made up about every excuse possible. I was too busy, it wasn’t convenient enough, I was a little nervous, is it going to hurt, will I faint like my Mom does, etc.,” said Nic Peterson. “Selfishly, when I learned that the Red Cross tests for COVID antibodies, I admittedly was simply curious if I ever had COVID and it made me take the leap!”

Here’s a guide on what to expect as a first-time blood donor. Ready to make an impact? Make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org.

In June 2020, the Red Cross began testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies to help provide donors insight into whether they may have been exposed to coronavirus during this ongoing pandemic.

Since Peterson’s initial donation, he now tries to donate blood as much as he can at the Red Cross blood drive held at the American Legion in New Richmond.

“The people working are awesome. I am a big introvert and a little shy. The staff is so welcoming and made me feel informed and comfortable. Plus, it hurts less than getting a shot, which I have no idea how that could be,” said Peterson.

To encourage others who may be hesitant to donate Peterson says, “Just try it one time. You don’t need to make the decision if this is something you are going to do forever. Give it a shot, see how you feel, and then decide if it is something you want to do moving forward. Even if you decide after one time that it isn’t for you, it still is a great feeling to know you helped someone that really needed it.”

Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 13,000 blood and more than 2,600 platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide.

Peterson is an advocate for the Red Cross mission.

“When I think of the Red Cross, I do think of all of the great things they do such as helping in support and recovery during natural disasters, helping a family after their house burnt, or supplying blood to hospitals across the country. Now, what pulls at my heart strings the most is donating blood. When someone needs it, I have realized there is only one way to get it and that is by someone taking the time out of their day to donate it for others.”

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