Friday, November 30, 2007

A time to give

This past week saw the unfortunate death of an NFL player in his prime.  Redskin safety Sean Williams died after being rushed to the hospital after being shot in his leg.  The bullet cut his femoral artery, and blood loss caused his ultimate death.  At the age of just 24.  

His death served as a reminder to me of the importance of donating blood.  No, lack of blood supply at the hospital was not a cause of Sean's death.  But he needed blood just for a chance at life.  Everyday, people are in need of blood to stay alive.  The local Red Cross calls me regularly to donate.  The need is great, but so few take the time to donate.

Last month the call was different.  They wanted me to consider giving platelets rather than blood.  The process is similar but takes longer as your blood is cycled through the machine to remove platelets while the rest of your blood returns to your body.   For me the process took about 85 minutes.  I watched a DVD while the blood cycled.  Platelets are needed for Cancer victims (my grandfather was one) and other conditions.  Fewer people give platelets than give blood so the need is great.

While one can give blood only every 54 days, one can give platelets every 2 weeks.

I am undecided on when I will give platelets versus blood.  Perhaps I will alternate.  Both are needed.  My blood is CMV negative.  I don't know exactly what the CMV stands for other than it is a common virus that most people have encountered and developed antibodies in the their system against.  Only blood that is CMV negative (doesn't have the antibodies) can be used with New Born infants or people having an organ transplant.  So my blood is needed.  But so is yours if you are healthy.  

Please consider giving blood or platelets.  For the little time it takes you to give, you could give years of life to another.  And you never know when it will be you or your loved one that is needing the blood or platelets.  If you can give, please do so.  This is a gift that keeps on giving.

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