WILTON, Conn. Wilton, if youre going to donate blood, make sure you have time to spare. I have been donating blood since high school, and generally it always takes longer than you think it will.
When I heard that Wiltons Trackside Teen Center was hosting a blood drive on Monday, I knew I had to go. It has been over two years since I last donated blood. Various reasons, like living in England and constant movement around the states, among others, have gotten in the way.
The American Red Cross took up much of the hangout spot usually reserved for the teens who go to the center, and filled it with five beds, privacy screens and a food and juice table for the donors.
If youve never given blood before, there is a process you have to go through. First, you are given a book filled with information of why you shouldnt give blood if youve done any of the things theyve listed, like lived or visited the United Kingdom for a total of three months between Jan. 1, 1980 and Dec. 31, 1996.
Following that they need to test for iron levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and make sure that they have the right person. Technicians ask for your name, date of birth and address at least five times until you finish.
Its the waiting to get on that bed and actually donate that does it for me. All the procedure leading up to it can be exhausting.
But once you finish all the paperwork and all the questions, and you actually begin the donation its a whole different story. I wont lie, the needle hurts and it can be disconcerting to see the bag, but donating is something I believe every citizen should do if they are able.
All in all it took me about an hour and 15 minutes from sign in to me finishing my cookie, time well spent in my book.
According to the American Red Cross more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day to keep up with the need. To find a blood drive near you or for more information about donating, go to the Red Cross website.
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