A Life Giving Gift
About a couple of years ago a friend of mine who works at our local hospital in the lab department began to share some stories with me about some life and death situations where a person needed blood and would have died had it not been for blood donors.
I had never donated before and I guess I must admit I really didn't want to. I was scared of giving up that much blood and the unpleasant experience of being poked with a needle. But after hearing those stories I concluded that these fears were so trivial comparatively speaking.
I decided to hit the next blood drive in the area. When I arrived they handed me a notebook with quite a bit of information in it that had to be read before you could donate. A fact that surprised me was that only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood and only 8% actually donate. Consider that 60% of the population will need blood at some time in their lives.
Some reasons people are not eligible to donate are:
- If any illness is present including a cough, cold, flu, sore throat
- And of course much more serious illnesses such as AIDs, Hepatitis, Sickle Cell Anemia or any other infectious blood-related disease or disorder.
- If you are taking certain medications that affect the blood such as aspirin, and blood thinners also if you are on antibiotics you cannot donate.
- if you are pregnant.
- if you are under 110 pounds
- If you have had cancer you must wait 5 years from last surgery or treatment. You cannot donate if you have had any type of blood cancer such as leukemia.
- Recent visits to or residence in certain foreign countries may prevent being qualified to donate
I almost ran into a problem with this on the first donate because I had been to Guatemala where malaria is quite prevalent. It was concluded that I was at a high enough elevation that it was determined it would be ok.
- If you have had a tattoo or piercing in the last year
- if you have been in a correctional facility for more than 72 hours in the last year.
I was surprised to learn that you can donate if you have diabetes while on insulin. Your cholesterol levels are not an issue and many other medications are acceptable. My friend who told me about this has MS and is on different types of meds at different times none of which interferes with her ability to donate.
I was pleased to learn in this process of how careful they are now about blood donations in the event that I would ever need one.
Some surprising benefits of donating blood
- The blood you donate can save up to 3 lives. Many necessary lifesaving blood products are manufactured from your donation.
- It is a mini physical. Your blood pressure gets checked along with pulse, temperature, and Hemoglobin not to mention that your blood is further tested for infectious diseases and basic counts after it is taken and they will notify you if there is a problem.
- It lowers the iron levels in your blood. Too much iron in the blood is damaging to the heart and other organs.
- There are also claims that consistent blood donation lowers your risk of cancer.1
- It also causes your body to make fresh new red blood cells
I write this article to bring awareness to the current blood shortage the red cross is currently experiencing. The supply has not been this low in 12 years.
I also couldn't help but think of the spiritual application of remembering the one who gave His blood for us only He gave it all.
According to Paul Brand Author of "In His Image"
— "Every cell in everybody lives at the mercy of blood"
In Christ, we have been transfused from our spiritual anemia with His pure and precious life-giving blood.
I couldn't help but think as well that His blood was the only blood that qualified as the ransom that needed to be paid.
...you were not redeemed with corruptible things...but with the precious blood of Christ
— I Peter 1:18-19
The word picture for the Hebrew word for blood speaks of its spiritual and physical function and the source of life. Another element exhibiting the story of salvation.
The Word for blood is "dahm" consisting of two letters a "dalet" and a "mem".
- The Dalet is a picture of a door. In John 10 verse 7 Jesus declares Himself to be the "door". I can't help but think of the blood that was applied to the doorposts of the Israelite children's home that spared them from death. There is no other exit from death nor entrance to life except through His blood poured out for us.
...with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
— Hebrews 9:12
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
— Ephesians 2:13
- The second letter is a mem is a picture of water. In John Chapter four in Jesus' discourse with the woman at the well, He makes an invitation to her to come and partake of the living waters which are faith and fellowship with Him. He is the source of living waters.
water not only gives life but it cleanses.
...the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
— I John 1:7
...To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood
— Revelation 1:5
"Modern science has shown that the symbol of cleansing conforms closely to the function of the actual substance...blood carries and releases the fresh cargo of oxygen and absorbs and carries away hazardous waste chemicals." ~ "In His Image" by Dr. Paul Brand and Phillip Yancey
...justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
— Romans 5:9
...He made peace through the blood of His cross.
— Colossians 1:20
Leviticus 17:11 tells us that the life of the flesh is in the blood. When we give blood we literally share our God-given life with others
"The greatest of all transfusions is performed when a poor sinner dead in trespasses and sins is transfused by the blood of Christ the moment he believes...There was one man who gave all His sinless blood on the Cross of Calvary...The blood of the Lord Jesus suits every type, avails for everyone, and is free to all who will submit to its transfusion by the Holy Spirit. All you need to do is apply for it by faith"
— M.R. DeHaan "The Tabernacle" (a highly recommended read!)
© 2011 Tamarajo