Once or twice a year FIT hosts a blood drive in the Great Hall. I’ll be honest – I should volunteer more. I mean, we’re pretty privileged to not only go to college, but to pursue the arts, but with 21 credits, an internship, extracurricular activities and the million other things the average FIT student does it can be hard to make the time. I love the FIT blood drive because it is so easy there is no excuse not to donate.
I had never donated blood before and my first time was a little nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone is very nice and they all explain everything they are going to do. So you’re reluctant, I get it. The medical history form is daunting, needles are scary and you don’t want to faint. Well, let me reassure you, the form is very long, but the questions are going to be mostly no’s for most people, and all the questions are explained on a separate informational sheet they give you. Your information is kept private and all discussions about your medical history are done discreetly behind screens. Even if you have to say yes to some questions it doesn’t mean you are ineligible to donate. For example, one question asks if you have been outside the United States in the past five years. I have and they just asked me where and when to make sure it wasn’t a country that you could have been exposed to a disease. Then they prick your finger just like your regular doctor does, check your temperature and blood pressure. The first time I tried to give blood my iron levels were too low, so now I always eat a hamburger for lunch or dinner before I go and it actually works!
A lot of people don’t donate blood because they are afraid of needles. If you are really terrified of needles there won’t be much I can say to change your mind. However, I will say that donating blood is easiest way to help someone who is really in need. You will literally save someone’s life and it doesn’t take anything away from you – your body will keep making blood to replace what you gave so it’s win-win! You could always try doing what I’ve done since I was a kid: just look the other way, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth and think the pinching feeling is just the doctor squeezing your skin. And fainting is a common occurrence, so there’s no reason to be worried or embarrassed about it. At least one person has had to ask them to stop drawing blood every time I have given blood. It’s really not so scary though because you just tell your attendant and they will stop taking blood, lean your chair back and maybe put your legs up to get the blood flowing back to your head. I’ve fainted before (not while giving blood just in life) and the only dangerous part about it is hitting your head on something on the way down, but here you’re already sitting/lying down so that won’t happen! The reason most people faint while giving blood is because they haven’t had anything to eat or drink in a while before they came in (just another fantastic reason to eat a hamburger!)
You should give blood because you get free cookies and juice, and leave with a super cool colorful armband as well as the knowledge you saved a life.