As you sit there, nervous and sweaty, watching your blood flow out of your arm into a bag, you are saving up to three people’s lives. This was the case for Sidney Dickenson, a first-time blood donor who participated in Student Council’s annual American Red Cross Blood Drive.
For the average blood donor, the whole experience takes around one hour. The first steps include checking in and answering an in-depth questionnaire checking your health status. They prick your finger to check your hemoglobin levels to make sure you can withstand the blood draw, and they also check your blood type. Luckily, Dickenson is as healthy as a horse and was able to fulfill her blood draw.
Once it was her turn, she was escorted to one of many stations. From there, she started chatting with her nurse where she learned that it can take eight weeks for your blood to be replaced: plasma takes two days, platelets take one week, and the red blood cells are what take up to eight weeks. The nurse then proceeded to check Dickenson’s blood pressure and feel for her vein.
Once she found a “good vein,” at 1:43 p.m. Dickenson started bleeding. Two minutes into the draw, when asked how she was feeling, she said, “I actually am feeling really fine. This is easier than I thought it would be.” On average, it takes between 5-15 minutes to fill a bag. Hers ended up taking 5 minutes and 32 seconds.
Chatting over juice and cookies later, she had one thing to say to anyone thinking about donating: “Just do it. Donate. You will feel like you made an impact, and you did. You saved people.”
In the end, the drive ended up collecting 93 units of blood, saving up to 279 people’s lives.