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Remember when your high school would hold its annual blood drive and your principal would call a class assembly to preach the benefits of giving blood? And, if you’re anything like me, his or her lecture fell on deaf ears, not because you didn’t care, but because once you heard that it was a free ticket out of class for the afternoon, you didn’t need to hear another single reason? You had already rolled up your sleeve and dared someone to jab you in the vein with a needle already. “Let’s do this thing!”
Today, unless your company hosts blood drives of its own, you probably don’t think too often about giving blood. Maybe you see the bloodmobile parked in your town center and consider it for a quick second before being lured away by your half-finished to-do list.
It’s human nature to be motivated by rewards -- and when there are none involved, it can be hard to pull yourself away from your daily schedule, if even for the few minutes it takes to give blood. Which is why, for a limited time, anyway, Dunkin Donuts is offering free goodies to those who give blood. January is kind of a big deal in the blood-giving world. You might know this if you were (a) a Red Cross volunteer, (b) a blood-sucking vampire or (c) you tuned in to The Bachelor this past Monday night to witness the contestants shooting public service announcements for the cause. January is National Blood Donor Month, and in honor of the special occasion, Dunkin Donuts launched the campaign Give a Pint, Get a Pound -- a pound of coffee beans, that is, to those who donate blood during the month of January. The only hitch? You must live in participating counties within MA, RI, NH, VT, ME, CT and Upstate NY to qualify.
If getting caffeinated isn’t your thing, and you happen to live in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas or Chicago, there’s a different kind of incentive to give blood. This season’s Bachelor Brad Womack, along with past contestants, will be making appearances at your local Red Cross blood drives. If the sight of blood doesn’t make you swoon, perhaps Brad’s baby blues will. No guarantees that he’ll be bed-side to hold your hand throughout the process.
Even if you live in Idaho, and are therefore ineligible for free coffee or a visit from TV’s latest heartthrob, there are still plenty of reasons to give blood -- not the least of which are free juice and cookies. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a transfusion. Hospitals and ERs use 39,000 units of blood every day to help save the lives of patients -- that’s over 14 million units a year. Every drop of blood used in hospitals comes from donations -- but fewer than five percent of Americans who are eligible to give blood actually do so. If you’re under 17 or weigh less than 110 pounds, you’ll have to wait until you grow up or fatten up to give. You can browse other eligibility requirements on the Red Cross web site, where you can also find blood drives in your area.
When was the last time you donated blood? Chime in below!