By Tom Kalchik, K of C Council 12144
Nothing beats the satisfaction that comes from helping others. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Saint Elizabeth Seton Knights of Columbus Council 12144 helps us to help others. It sponsors regular blood drives so parishioners and others can donate their blood to save lives. So, who can be saved?
- A baby born prematurely.
- A woman with a life-threatening pregnancy.
- A young person with a rare genetic disorder.
- A victim of a car accident.
- A person facing surgery.
- Many more too numerous to mention.
The Knights partner with Vitalant, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit blood and biotherapies healthcare organizations. It supplies the blood needed by the citizens of Maricopa County and meets much of the needs for the State of Arizona.
Never given blood before? Well, it can be a little daunting the first time. Personally, I have been donating for over 40 years and have donated whole blood, double reds, and platelets. I know that my blood donation can save up to three lives.
When you walk in to donate, you will first be screened by a professional nurse who will take your temperature and check your pulse, blood pressure, and your hemoglobin level. You will then have to answer questions about medications that you take, places where you have traveled, and other information to make sure that your blood is safe to be transfused into another human being.
Once the screening is finished, you are ready to donate. Now, I always donate using a vein on the inside of the elbow on my left arm. My vein “kind-of-runs at an angle”, but after a couple of fist clenches, the nurse marks it and sterilizes the area. I usually do not even feel the needle when the nurse inserts it to start the donation. It only takes a few minutes, and then you are finished. Once your donation is completed, you are treated to various juices, salty snacks, cookies, and other goodies. After spending a few minutes resting, you can leave the donation room knowing that you have helped someone live.
The last blood drive the Knights sponsored at St. Elizabeth Seton was on October 15th. It started at 8 am and ended at 12 noon. Our volunteers donated 37 units of blood. That means we saved up to 111 lives, but we still have room for more. You can sign up in the courtyard a couple of weeks before the next drive, so watch for your opportunity to save a life sometime around the middle of December.
For more information about donating blood, go to https://vitalant.org/.