In Honor Of National Blood Donor Month, We Asked 6 People Why They Donate

“It’s the easiest and most beautiful gift you can give ... "

During the month of January, New York Blood Center and blood centers across the country are celebrating National Blood Donor Month to recognize the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors everywhere. Dedicating a month to this cause is so important given that someone in the U.S. is in need of a donation every two seconds, yet very few people actually donate. In fact, approximately 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, yet less than 10 percent actually do each year. 

That's why people such as James Harrison, who has donated blood and plasma over 1,000 times in his life, saving over 2 million babies, are true heroes. 

National Blood Donor Month is meant to inspire more people to donate blood, and to remind us that while it is amazing to donate in the wake of disasters, such as in the Las Vegas shooting, or the Paris terror attack, blood donations are needed year-round.  

To learn more about blood and platelets donation, we talked to to six donors at the New York Blood Center on why the act is so meaningful to them.  

1.

"I've been donating blood since high school. So I guess that would mean almost 20 years ... It's the easiest and most beautiful gift you can give that doesn't cost anything, that doesn't take anything, and I'm lucky enough to be healthy and able. So, to me, it feels like a very simple thing, and a simple gesture to do, that can help other people, so why wouldn't I do it."  -Kate Amore

Donation: O-, Whole Blood

2.

"I've been donating blood for around five years. I try to do it at least four times a year ... My favorite part is definitely the ending. Like, the satisfaction of knowing that even though I sat here for a couple hours, as some people do, I did something for a better cause." -David Pintor

Donation: O+, Platelets

3.

"I've been donating platelets for two years, almost three. Over the summer, I do a charity bike ride that raises money for cancer research. I'm on the Patriot Platelet Pedalers team, and we are all about donating platelets and getting people involved in donating. The fundraiser is for the pan-mass challenge. We do a bike ride across the state of Massachusetts and we raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ... 

I try and donate as much as I can in the year. I think it's like 24 in a year. [...] Platelets are something that very few people know about and know that it's important to donate in addition to whole blood and other forms of donating. Platelets don't last as long as whole blood, so if I donate today, my platelets have to be used right away [...] Otherwise, they could go bad and have to be thrown out." -Noah Shapiro

Donation: O+, Platelets

4.

"I've been donating blood for a little over two years. My brother-in-law had passed away, and I was passing a village hall and they had a blood donation drive.  I was on vacation and he had gotten a lot of transfusions and I just felt like I had to stop ... Realizing how [great] his need was, and obviously if people don't donate… people have to donate. I donate around three to four times a year." - Pat Tresnan

 Donation: O+, Whole Blood

5.

"I've been donating blood for about 22 years. Someone in my family died from cancer in 2005. I felt like I'd like to do my part in mitigating the pain that cancer patients and accident victims go through in whatever small part I can, and I stumbled across New York Blood Center ... My favorite thing is knowing that I made an actual difference in someone else's life." - Mayur Pathak

Donation: AB+, Platelets and Plasma

6.

"I've been donating blood for about two years. One of my friends, he actually donates all the time, and he told me to do it. And I've just been following up here and there ... I guess I'm helping somebody right? I'm saving somebody." - Elio Palmato

Donation: O+, Whole Blood

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