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Published Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bleeding for a Good Cause

That’s more people than John McClane saved in the last Die Hard movie.
Actually, I don’t know if John McClane saved anyone in the last Die Hard movie. Did he?

So you want to be a hero? You want to save lives? Well, the good news is that if you’re reading this, you’re probably not afraid of needles. That was a piercing joke. But seriously, imagine if you could save someone’s life next week. Say a cardiac patient, or an accident victim. What about a premature baby or cancer patient? What if you could save a hundred lives?

I was with my stepdad when he was dying from leukemia. Without regular blood transfusions, he couldn’t even walk across the room. He’d be out of breath, he’d need a wheelchair just to get around for more than a few minutes. After a transfusion he could walk, not a mile maybe, but enough to get around the house without wheezing. So it makes a real difference.

But wait, you say, I heard that if I had piercings done in the last 12 months I’m not eligible to give blood. And maybe you have new piercings done every year and so your desire to save lives has been stunted.

Last year,

Or maybe you’ve channeled your energies into rooftop leaping vigilantism.

Following some updates in the FDA blood and tissue donation recommendations, the Blood Bank of Hawaii changed their rules to allow anyone who has been pierced or tattooed in professionally regulated studio the opportunity to give blood. The American Red Cross concurs. If you went to a licensed piercer to get your piercings done, you can give blood.

And we’ve mentioned this before, but the reason it needs to be a licensed piercer is because of the risk of transmitting diseases like Hep C and HIV, which have an incredibly high infection rate when given to someone through blood transfusions. So you really should be using a licensed piercer anyways, it’s good for you.

On average,

Like an apple a day. With jewelry.

An accident victim might need 40-50 units of red blood cells. A premature baby 1-4 units (They’re tiny, tiny babies, after all), a cancer patient 10-20 units, a heart transplant recipient 40 units. And all this typically happens right away. When you give blood, depending on where you live, it’s probably going into someone in need next week. Not next month, not a year from now. Next week.

Someone next week gets pulled from a burning building, taken to the burn unit, and boom they get your blood. Or someone in an accident, someone with cancer, someone who was just born that day.

Every year,

“Whoever gave this blood is awesome!” – Dr. Thumbsup

Bodyartforms gives thousands of dollars to charities like the American Red Cross, but more than any financial donation, they really need blood.

Next week, your blood can save a life. You can give blood every two months, platelets every seven days. They have a hardcore double red blood cell donation that you can only do like three times a year. But the point is, not only can you save a life next week, but over the course of a year, you could save half a dozen lives.

Over the course of your lifetime, you could save hundreds of lives. Like a real hero.