Give the gift that proves it’s better to give than receive

Christine’s father had leukemia and needed blood transfusions to prolong his life. Every three months or so, all of us co-workers would trek down to Inland Northwest Blood Center to donate blood. Actually, it was all of us except for Marc who would literally pass out at the thought.

According to his doctors Christine’s dad lived at least three years longer than they anticipated because of our donations. True or not, it gave us a great feeling of doing something right for the right reason and made us a better team.

You can choose your own reason to give when you go to Bonner General Health’s classrooms next Wednesday, December 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The classrooms are in the hospital building, 520 N. Third Avenue. INBC isn’t bringing the bus up.

“A person’s suitability to donate blood depends on two general considerations: that the donation will not be injurious to the donor, and that the donated blood will not be unnecessarily hazardous to the recipient,” the FDA’s website states.

INBC says that they need 200 donors a day to keep a safe supply of blood on hand. Transfusions are used to treat people who’ve lost blood due to surgery, serious injuries or illnesses such as liver disease and anemia as well as those undergoing chemotherapy. There is no substitute for human blood. One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.

“Regulations enforced by FDA require that as part of the suitability criteria, a donor be free from any disease transmissible by blood transfusion, in so far as can be determined by health history and medical examination,” their website says.

BGH’s Marketing Specialist Robin Hanson said that the Fast Track questionnaire can be completed online before you go to give blood thereby allowing you to fill it out in the privacy of your home or office by going to www.bloodsystems.org/health.aspx.

“Donors can complete their health history questionnaire online the same day as their blood donation and either bring the printed ‘Fast Track Ticket’ with them or bring their phones or tablets for the INBC staff to scan the barcode. This streamlines the overall donation process,” she said.

But, don’t worry if you don’t have a computer or electronic device at your fingertips. You can fill out the questionnaire when you get to the hospital. To schedule your appointment go to INBCsaves.org, call Hanson at 265-1123 or email her at robin.hanson@bonnergeneral.org.

Anyone over the age of 18 who weighs more than 110 pounds can give blood. Teens 16 and 17 years old may also give blood, but there are different weight restrictions and they must provide a Minor Donor Consent Form (available at INBC’s website). There’s no upper age limit for giving blood.

If you take certain medications such as anti-platelet agents, anticoagulants, prostrate drugs, acne treatments, hair loss remedies, psoriasis and hepatitis meds, and a few others, you’ll need to consult with your physician or a representative from INBC to determine your eligibility.

“Donating blood is a safe process. Your one donation is tested 13 times to ensure the safety and reliability of the blood supply for patients in need,” INBC says. “Every blood donor is given a mini-physical which involves checking the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin level (iron count) to ensure it is safe to give blood.

“The average adult has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in their body and roughly one pint is given during a donation. After donating blood, you replace the fluid in hours and the red blood cells within four weeks. It takes eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating.”

On the day of your donation, bring the completed form with your photo ID. Make sure you’ve eaten a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids. Although the actual blood donation takes only ten to fifteen minutes, from start to finish the process will take around 45 minutes, give or take.

Giving blood is a priceless gift. Please consider doing it.

Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.