Go, donate blood

For all of you who are wanting to get the CliffsNotes of this piece and move on to the sudoku, here it is: Give blood.

You have the opportunity to save a life, eat some delicious cookies and get some extra credit for that class you’ve been slacking in. Who knows – you may even run into the cute girl or boy in your history class.

For those of you sitting in the back of your incredibly large lecture looking to pass the time, I encourage you to read on.

Let me preface this by telling all of you I have never given blood successfully. I am the master of low iron, slow bleeding, visiting malaria-infested countries and vomiting on the gym floor.

My right and left arms are nothing more than pin cushions for blood-drawing needles. However, I understand the need for blood in this country, and that is why I will offer up my right arm this week.

Giving blood isn’t a pleasant activity. For many students, it is an hour of their time to earn a few points for their Homecoming pairing or residence hall floor. So, why would I let a nurse prick my finger, stick a needle in my arm, and then suck a pint of blood out of me?

Chances are that I, or someone in my family, will need blood in my lifetime. Approximately 25 percent of people will need a blood transfusion in their life.

Almost everyone can identify a cancer patient, victim of an accident or someone who is going into surgery. Each of these people require a transfusion to make up for the red blood cells, plasma or platelets that they have lost. More than 38,000 transfusions are given every day to people who need them.

I understand students are busy. I’m a student. I know. Nobody has an hour to give blood. I understand we travel out of the country, have low iron counts, have gotten a tattoo or piercing out-of-state or are unable to give for other reasons. Deferrals happen to everyone.

I challenge everyone who is able to give to attempt to. I’m scared of needles and I haven’t ever given successfully.

However, my mom had cancer, my grandma had hip surgery and my good friend from high school has had five open-heart surgeries.

That’s why you can see me on a bed this week, offering up my arm. I may not need blood in the future, but someone I know probably will.

Pete Arentson is the general co-director for this fall’s blood drive. He also served as co-director last spring. He has been taking part in and volunteering at blood drives for more than seven years. He can be reached at [email protected].