Two Blood Donor Emojis, one of a woman giving blood and one of just the arm of someone donating blood, from

Why I Donate Blood

Folks who know me know I give blood, and do it as often as I’m allowed to. (That’s every 56 days, which means six or seven times a year.)

One morning the staff double-checked my stats and told me where my unit of blood was going: Straight to the hospital, where it would be used for a baby’s surgery. How can that not warm your heart?

What is your Favorite Cause?

When GeekWire selected me as their Geek of the Week, they asked about my favorite cause. That was an easy choice: “Blood donation. You donate a pint of blood and around an hour of your time, and you give a gift that’s priceless.

Lately a related mini-cause is the Blood Donor Emoji (like the ones at the top of this post). As the sponsors explain:

There’s An Emoji For Just About Everything… Except A Blood Donor
Millions of individuals text emojis every minute of every day, to equal over a billion. Globally, 112.5 million blood donations are collected each year, according to World Health Organizations. We think it’s time those millions of donors get the recognition they deserve, starting with their own special emoji.

To put that another way: If social media outlets have an emoji for poop, there should be an emoji to encourage blood donation.

World Blood Donor Day

The World Health Organization promotes donation too. As they put it:

“Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.

Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters.”

The Shirt

Over the years I’ve received several shirts when donating. My favorite is the SuperHero shirt. I tend to wear it when I expect to be in the presence of other super heroes. That includes places like Comicon, Jet City Comic Show, a movie screening with super hero Amy Jo Johnson, and of course when I donate blood:

How About You?

When someone realizes that I count my donations in terms of gallons it sounds like a lot. However, that’s one pint at a time like everyone else. (Remember from school that there are 8 pints in a gallon.)

My first donation was the same as anyone’s first visit to a blood center or bloodmobile. It’s like taking your first step in the morning, followed by more steps during the day. Before you know it, those days, months, and years of individual steps add-up to miles.

Why do I keep coming back? Some of the best customer service around: Nice folks, a comfy couch, and at the end you get to have juice and cookies with a fellow super-hero or two. What’s your blood donation story?

5 thoughts on “Why I Donate Blood”

  1. HI Steve…
    Think I might have gotten your name wrong in the previous post. If so, I apologize. I truly agree about the awesome feeling that giving the possibility to contributing to the survival of another’s life is very powerful. I gave blood and platelets for many years when I was younger…. I think my max was just slightly over 3 gallons. I won’t get into why I stopped, I was young and easily offended, especially if I thought my efforts kept the other person in a job and they were totally disinterested/disrespectful of the gravity of what was happening. (In other words, I was a jerk!)
    But, I work in the healthcare industry and I’ve been told many times that the needle marks left by the donations…. particularly the plasma donations, are not a desirable feature. So I’ve not been the hero I should be.. but I give my heart and soul in to doing my utmost to make sure that the care the patients under my care receive the best care possible.
    Thank you for reaching out and trying to make a difference. I get extremely tired of the indifference.

    God bless, Tiana

    1. Congratulations on becoming a triple galloneer!
      I’ve heard the scars on the arms of long-time blood donors referred-to as donor dimples. That’s a compliment, though also an indication that the phlebotomist might need to work a little harder getting through the scar tissue. Drinking lots of water before donating really helps because it puffs-up the veins. Thanks both for donating blood and giving your heart and soul for your patients.

  2. Thank you for posting. I have a simple goal. Promote giving blood, put a smile on a few peoples faces, do not make it any harder for the people in the medical community. I am thinking of doing a website that promotes these goals. Stay tuned for further devlopments

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