A quote by C.S. Lewis has always presented a poignant test to me when I think about philanthropy, or what is now popularly called “giving back.” He says that we should give more than we can spare: “If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us… they are too small.”
In these times of economic strife, we may already feel a bit pinched and hampered, making it difficult to give what we did in times of plenty. But there is something we can give back, and it won’t cost anything. It’s something people can easily spare, yet there is not enough to go around. It’s not something money can buy, but something one person can give to another.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Blood is needed for surgical procedures, treatment of accident victims, cancer therapy, ulcers, anemia, and mothers and newborns during delivery. Some people need regular blood transfusions just to live. But only 5 percent of the population donates blood in any given year, and in Hawai‘i, only 2 percent of the eligible population donates blood. Healthy donors are needed to supply blood banks—there is no substitute.
We have all heard (or used) the excuses. “I’m too busy.” The entire process takes about an hour. The actual blood drawing process takes only five to eight minutes. “I don’t like needles.” Who does? “They don’t need my blood.” So long as you are healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, are 18 years of age or older (17 with a signed consent form—there’s no upper age limit), they absolutely need your blood. The more rare your blood type is, the more you are needed. “I am afraid I’ll get AIDS.” That’s impossible. “I don’t have any to spare, and I might feel weak afterward.” An average adult contains 10 to 12 pints of blood. You will donate less than one pint, and your body will replace it within 24 hours. You can give every 56 days. Many donors give five times a year!
Maui does not have a permanent blood drive, so this month is your earliest opportunity until the Hawai‘i Blood Bank returns in August. Bring a valid photo ID with date of birth to the Cameron Center Auditorium, Monday through Wednesday, June 22 through 24, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., respectively (dates and times are subject to change).
If you are healthy and able to give, count your blessings while you donate a part of yourself that literally comes from the heart. A single donation can help save the lives of up to three people. You have plenty to spare. If you take the time and courage to make one donation, you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated. It’s just a pinch.
To make an appointment or to get more information, visit www.bbh.org or call the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i toll-free at (800) 372-9966.