What’s The Deal With Blood— and Why Should I Donate?
Blood: it’s fascinating, gross, scary, and beautiful all at once. It’s thicker than water, runs through our veins, and is vital for human life. So why do we have it? How did it evolve? And why should WE donate it?
In case you missed it earlier, we wrote an article all about the wonders of this substance we call blood in which we discussed its amazing properties.
But the TL;DR?
Blood is a fantastic multi-tasker responsible for waste removal (think Carbon Dioxide and Lactic Acid) and transporting nutrients, sugar, oxygen and hormones around the body. It’s made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets—but how did it evolve in the first place?
When a living creature is small (we’re talking usually single-cellular and simple multi-cellular critters), there’s less volume for processes such as waste removal and energy transport to occur within. However, when larger organisms came to evolve– such as mice or, would you believe, humans — our bodies became too large and complicated to operate without organised transport systems, hence the need for blood to bring things to and from our billions of cells.
We have around 5 litres of blood in our bodies at any one time—which seems like plenty. So—why donate some of that?
Cancer patients, burns victims, trauma patients and those with sudden illnesses often need urgent transfusion of blood in order to stay alive. This is usually due to massive blood loss. Sometimes the blood type of the patient is not immediately known in the case of sudden injury or trauma. In this case, O negative type blood (the ‘universal donor’ type that does not have A, B or Rh Antibodies) can be given to the patient until their own blood type is found—with a few very rare exceptions.
It is estimated that 25,000 donations are needed each week for the Red Cross to keep up with patient demands—so if you’re healthy, between the ages of 18 and 70, over 50kg and meet a few other basic criteria, make an appointment here and roll up your sleeves to save a life (or 3).
If you’d like to go one step further in changing lives, you can become a phlebotomist, qualified to draw blood from the 1 in 30 generous Australians who donate. You can check out LTT’s range of Pathology collection qualifications here.
On behalf of the 1 in 3 Australians who will, at some point, need blood—thank you!