We all know the numbers. Each blood donation can save up to four lives.
One of them could have been mine.
In 2014, I lost a lot of blood during surgery, and was close to needing a transfusion. Fortunately, it was ultimately deemed unnecessary.
However, the experience really opened my eyes. I was asked a couple of times whether I was worried about getting someone else's blood.
As a long-time donor, I knew the system was the safest it had ever been, and getting better all the time. The questions got me thinking.
I decided to talk up my experience more often, and more publicly, to help dispel some of the myths and stigma that surround this relatively simple procedure. Sometimes, I share donation pictures even though they might make some of my friends squeamish.
I won't lie. It hurts a little. I also hoped that someone else would decide to donate when I needed it, and so it only seemed right that I encourage others to do likewise.
There are a lot reasons people don't donate blood. Sometimes they're afraid of needles, or they have a medical issues that preclude them. There are still groups of people who are, sadly, excluded for the wrong reasons, although that's slowly improving, too.
Sometimes people just don't think of it, or don't plan to make it to the clinic when the opportunity arises.
Whatever your reasons, here's another way you can help. If you're already a donor, I hope you'll take this as a gentle reminder to get off your keester and make your next appointment.
On Sept. 13 I'm planning to make my 100th blood donation, in memory of Jacques Katz, a friend of a friend. Please help me share the gift of life with others.