Giving Blood: If I Can Do It, So Can You

By Jack Wolfe

This Friday, December 2nd, from 9 to 3, City Year Columbus will be hosting a Blood Drive on the 8th floor of the KeyBank building.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Jeez… another one of these.”  I know I’ve seen two Blood Drives around town in the last week, including a massive one at OSU prior to the Michigan game.  Seems like people are always begging you for blood, right?

Well, there’s a reason for all the demands, and that’s the tremendous need.  It’s estimated that every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.  This means that over 38,000 blood donations are needed EVERY DAY to keep our country healthy.  Norma Wasserstrom, the Red Cross representative who is helping me run City Year’s Drive, gave me a map of the 27-county Central Ohio region she serves (which includes Franklin County).  She told me that the region needs 800 donations a day to sustain itself.

It sounds like a lot.  It is a lot.  But honestly, it’s not hard to give blood.  The Red Cross sets up Drives everywhere.  The donation process is simple, and usually takes less than an hour altogether.  And the service itself is about the most rewarding you can offer your community.

To give you an idea of just how simple and how rewarding donating is, I invite you to take a
look at me.  I am a very skinny vegetarian wimp.  I am not a fan of needles, or of blood (the look of it, anyway).  Yet I have donated three times in the past fifteen months.

Let me tell you about the last time (sometime in October).  I was a little nervous that my iron count wasn’t going to be high enough*, as I no longer eat meat.  I was also a little nervous about getting my finger pricked.  I persisted because:

  1. Two first year Corps Members were in the same room as me and I didn’t want look
    like a big wuss.
  2. I remembered that my one pint of blood could save up to three lives.

So I went through all the tests and stuff and finally got hooked up to the apparatus.  I got lightheaded pretty early on, so the Red Cross people laid me flat.  From that point on, I was pumping like crazy.  The rest of the process took just a couple of minutes.  I had a nice chat with a nurse about the new Batman video game, and was surprised with some tasty animal crackers.  (Those who participate in this Friday’s Drive will receive a T-Shirt as well.)

Afterward, with my big red bandage wrapped around my right arm, I felt like a hero, for I knew I had just done some powerful service.  Which, of course, is the whole idea of City Year.

Basically, if I can donate blood, you probably can too.  Please e-mail me at if you wish to donate this Friday.  Thanks.

P.S.: If you want more mindblowing statistics about blood, as well as the need for it, you should go to

If you want video evidence of how far your donation can go, you should watch this video:

*Before you give blood, be sure to get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, and drink plenty of fluids.  Those of you who are concerned about iron should consume cereals fortified with iron (most cereals, honestly… and drink orange juice to increase absorption), cooked dried beans, peas, or lentils, dried fruits, enriched or whole grain breads, rolls, rice, cornmeal and pasta, and meat products.  DO NOT drink hot or cold tea, which decreases iron by approximately 50 percent.  (Coffee is no good either, according to a woman I talked to at Starbucks today.)