January is National Blood Donor Month so we decided to interview our Accounts Payable & Payroll Manager, Lauren Cassandro. Lauren donates often and was happy to share some information with us.
When did you first donate blood?
I began donating blood about 1 year ago.
What’s your blood type?
I am an O Negative donor. O Negative blood cells are called “universal” meaning they can be transfused to almost any patient in need. Only 6.6% of the population has O Negative blood.
When did you find out you had O Negative?
Around winter last year I donated, not knowing what my blood type was. Weeks later I was constantly receiving phones calls for additional donations, in which they told me I have an O Negative blood type. They explained how this gives me a unique opportunity to help people in emergency situations.
Is the process painful?
No. It’s a pretty big needle, which is why I suggest not looking, a slight pinch and its over – the rest of the process you don’t feel a thing.
How often do you donate?
I donate whole blood, so I go approximately every 8 weeks (56 days) – This is the required wait period between each donation and how long it takes your body to replace all the red blood cells.
How much blood do you donate each time?
1 pint – which can help save as many as three people’s lives!
How long does it take?
It takes about 45 minutes. It can take longer if the donor is dehydrated. Hydration helps your body maintain good circulation, prevents light-headedness and pumps up your veins to make your blood flow easier.
I think a lot of it is mental, so try not to look and don’t think about it. Watch TV or find someone to talk to while you’re donating. Make sure you’ve eaten and you’re hydrated (iron rich foods are beneficial because if your iron is too low they will not allow you to donate).