Tap A Vein

This morning I woke up and realized I will be in Florida one month from today, along with hundreds and hundreds of nerds, about to embark on the 6th annual JocoCruiseCrazy. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. And if you’ve wanted to go but didn’t want to go to the Caribbean, they just made an announcement for 2017 that I bet you’re going to love!

One of the ports on the last two cruises was to Haiti. It’s a really pretty place but there’s one thing I hadn’t thought of until AFTER the first cruise there. When you visit a third world country such as this one, you can’t donate blood for a year after the date you return home. This means I haven’t been able to donate for TWO YEARS. I was really disappointed because although I don’t donate blood as often as I could, I did always make sure to do it on or near my birthday because celebrating the years I’ve been alive is a reminder that there are so many people whose life may depend on getting a blood transfusion. The best gift, I feel, is to give to these people in need.

If you have never donated red blood cells, plasma, or platelets before, here are a few facts (According to the American Red Cross) about it that may help you to understand how much it helps others:

-Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

-One donation can save up to three people.

-Approximately 41,000 donations are needed every day.

-A healthy donor may donate platelets every 7 days, up to a maximum of 24 times a year.

-A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days.

-Only nine percent of people in the U.S. have O negative blood type. O negative blood type donors are universal donors as their blood type can be given to people of all blood types.

-Three percent of people in the U.S. have AB positive blood type (THAT’S ME!!). AB positive donors are universal donors of plasma, which is often used in emergencies, for newborns and for patients requiring massive transfusions.

If you’re a healthy person who is able to donate blood, I highly recommend doing so. And if  you attended the last JoCo cruise, you are finally able to donate as of February 8th! There are wonderful organizations that are able to take your donation. Just use the handy tool called the internet and find a place near you. I choose to donate to City of Hope in Duarte, CA. They saved the life of my friend who has leukemia and I know the patients there are people like her, who need life saving blood, plasma, platelets, and bone marrow donations from healthy people like me. If you’re interested in becoming a bone marrow donor,  you can go here and follow the easy steps on how to get on the national registry. I haven’t been matched with anyone yet, but I really hope I get the opportunity someday!


9 thoughts on “Tap A Vein

  1. I’ve been on the bone marrow registry for over a decade. I’m biracial and know how hard it is for people to find a match. Especially those of mixed races. No blood donation from me though. I’m not allowed, because of when and where I lived while in high school.

    1. Isn’t it odd how one thing is okay but not the other? I’ve been on the registry for over a decade as well. I’m so glad you did that because I know biracial is a difficult match. Please let me know if you ever get that call!

  2. do you think for the bone marrow transplant registry if you have a mental health condition that says you absolutely can not register if i got a note from my doctor saying that I’m fine to sign up they’ll let me? I want to. I guess I can donate blood still, which is better than nothing. I don’t understand why I’m not able to because of a diagnosis.

    1. That’s a really good question. I don’t know the reasons for their donor criteria but I bet if you contact them directly, they could explain it to you. If you aren’t able to be on the marrow registry but are allowed to donate blood, that is still a wonderful way to help others. I’ve always wanted to donate platelets and have tried 3 times but they can’t seem to get them from me, so I just donate in other ways.

  3. I donated blood for many, many years before being asked about donating platelets. It was tough at first due to time needed. Back then, it was easily 3 1/2 hrs. Tough when you’re going to school, working full time + part time job. But, it was worth it. Doesn’t take quite as much time these days.
    All the years I have been donating, have only had 1 scary incident. Donating platelets and the tech had accidentally protruded the needle through the vein just a tiny bit. When the blood was being returned, didn’t notice at first that it was going out of the vein and into underside of my arm. Phew, that was a mess. Took a few days for the swelling and discoloration to go away. Still worth it.
    Bad news now is closed donation centers any where close to me. We have a mobile truck that will come around every few months, but, as I have gotten older and blood pressure is a little high, the mobile unit will not accept donors with high blood pressure. I’ve been told that donation centers will, but for some reason the mobiles wont. Can’t get a straight answer why. So, haven’t been able to donate for some time now. Someday soon, I will make the trip to a center to find out.
    Thanks Anne. Good post.

  4. I urge people, despite their desire to help and despite political positions that some things are ‘not fair’, do not lie on your medical history to appear eligible.

    1. is it bad i was considering lying about my medical history, of course i’m usually convinced that they’ll find out everything, even if i’ve never spoken a word of something that they’ll know my feelings or thoughts. but the good thing is it keeps me honest. I mean of course it’s bad to lie about your medical history, but is it bad to consider it? you probably you shouldn’t answer that.

  5. Regular plasma donor for ages. Blood occasionally, but not in a long time. I need to get back to that. Thanks for the reminder! Oh, and registered for marrow, too.

    I lost a friend to cancer in 2013. He lived a year and a half from a marrow transplant and got to have some closure from a horrible diagnosis that we knew would end his life. I’m grateful to that donor for that.

    And another friend got three units of blood a few years back. Again, grateful.

  6. Anne, the requirements for Haiti visitors changed in 2014 (at least at most blood banks). If you spend less than 24 hours on Haiti, you shouldn’t be deferred. I’ve managed to four times last year. So, if you can get in to the blood center before we sail, you should be able to donate.

    However, this year we are going back to St. Maarten, where the Zika virus is present. Apparently we blood donors just can’t win! According to some of the Sea Monkeys on the JoCoCruise 3016 Facebook group, there is a 28-day deferral for this.

    See you soon!


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