First-Time Donor This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Every year, my high school's National Honor Society organizes a blood drive. The American Red Cross comes in, and sets up a blood donation center in the gym. You have to be 17 or older and weigh over 110 pounds to give blood, so this year was the first year I was eligible.
The Red Cross carefully screens people who are in a high-risk category, like being infected with the AIDS virus. Some of the questions were pretty embarrassing. But I guess it's comforting to know that if I ever need a blood transfusion, the donors have been carefully screened. I had to choose between stickers that either read, "use my blood" or "do not use my blood" to be placed on my form. The sticker was only a bar code, so if I changed my mind at that time and thought my blood shouldn't be used for transfusions, I didn't have to be embarrassed.
When the nurse inserted the needle, I was actually surprised I could feel it, but it really wasn't that bad. It took about 10 minutes, and all I had to do was gently squeeze a little rubber ball to keep the blood pumping. I didn't have to even look. After it was all over, I lay down on the cot for a few minutes, and then was escorted to a table to eat. They had coffee, milk, or juice, and plenty of cookies and crackers. I hung around for a few minutes, and then I was done.
I was surprised at how easy giving blood was. It didn't really hurt, and it felt great knowing that I might actually save a life. Someone I will never know may be given the gift of life. It was such a small act, but even three days later, I am still really proud of myself. I would encourage everyone who thinks that they could be a donor to do so. Find out if your school, local church, or other community groups has annual blood donation drives. If not, it's easy to give the Red Cross a call and find out when and where you can donate blood.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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mag4ever said...
Jul. 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Hello! I recently donated blood at my high school too, except for here, you only have to be 16 to do it. It made me feel so glad to have donated, plus they sent a nice letter saying the names of people my blood could have helped. It was a really positive experience, and I will definitely be doing it again, and I hope you will too! This article was very positve and very well written! Thanks for sharing your postive experience, and I hope that others will want to donate blood too :)
 
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