Kids, here around the holiday season a lot of people are thinking about how fortunate they are with their own lives and families.  I know I am.  And sometimes I know people can be at a loss as to how they can give back a little to the people around them.

After all, not a lot of us have money.  It can be hard in tough economic times to get enough money for an extra toy or to make a donation to a charity. I know for me, it can be hard sometimes to even find some change in the car for the Bell Ringers.  So while gifts to charity over the season are always welcomed and appreciated, giving your time can also be just as important.  So if you don't have a lot of money, but you have an hour or so one day, why not give the gift that can truly save a life?

Giving blood can be intimidating for some people, I know.  I was pretty squeamish the first time I gave blood.  I thought it would hurt, I thought I would faint and I didn't know if I'd be able to, since I use a medication for my MS that involves a muscle injection.  There are a few physical requirements, but most people meet those with little to no problem. Don't let your hesitation keep you away.  A lot of the misconceptions about giving blood are easily quashed!

First of all, it probably doesn't take as long as you think it does.  You just have to read some paperwork, answer a few questions and sit on the table for a bit.  Most of the time, you can be done in 45 minutes.  So all you'd have to do, really, is tell your boss, "Hey, I'm gonna give blood over my lunch break.  Can I have an extra half hour or so to be sure?"  What employer would turn that down?  After all, it's the HOLIDAYS.  It's not like you're asking them to give you a bonus (although I bet we all could use one, huh).

Secondly, it doesn't hurt.  There's a little pinch at the beginning, and that's it.  After that, you can sit and read or play on your phone or listen to music or whatever you want.  Most of the time, the staff are also there to have a nice chat with you.  If you're nervous, just mention it to someone and they'll go out of their way to make you as comfortable as possible.

Third, if you do things the way they tell you to, you'll feel fine afterwards.  You have to make sure you eat something!  If you're gonna go over lunch, don't do it on a day when you didn't get a good breakfast.   It probably wouldn't hurt you to have a little granola bar or a light snack beforehand, too. After you give blood, most of the time (at every blood drive I've been to, anyway) there is free food readily available along with drinks.  Just make sure you eat something and maybe don't do any crazy lifting or long distance running that day.  Have a couple of snacks, drink plenty of water or juice, take it easy and you'll be fine.

That's all there is to it, really.  When you give blood, you could be saving up to three lives in one go.  That blood goes to local groups who use it to help people every day from things like transfusions for cancer patients, helping with accidents, and making sure hospitals are ready to help with newborns and other patients.  They can take your white and red blood cells, and possibly the plasma, and all three of those things can go to three different people.  This is a great way to give back without having to make a dent in your pocketbook   -  and you can do it again and again and again.  It really is a gift that you can keep giving that will keep people alive.

So, now that you're all fired up to donate, here's a couple of local blood drives you can attend to get started!

  • The Community Blood Center will have a Winter Blood Drive on Tuesday, Dec.11. It’ll be held at the First Christian Church, 200 South Limit from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  To make an appointment, go to or call Marge Watson at 826-5300.
  • The American Red Cross will have a blood drive on Monday, Dec. 17 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church.  That'll be in the annex at 200 East 6th street. To make an appointment, go to and use the sponsor code "FirstBapistSedalia," or call 1-800-733-2767.

Donatingly yours,


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