This post originally ran on August 6, 2012. In light of the Boston bombings, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit this topic.
We all know that giving blood is important. I was raised believing it was my civic duty to give blood whenever I could. So I donated blood regularly since I was 18 years old and even gave plasma when I was in college (that is a different story though). However, I stopped doing it during my child-bearing and baby-raising years. Once I was past that time of my life I wanted to start giving again, but there was one thing I hadn’t considered.
During the years I stopped giving blood to raise my baby boys I started long distance running.
The first time I gave blood after that break was during a training season a few years ago. I gave a “double red” donation and was seriously knocked on my butt for weeks (if not a good 2 months) afterwards. I simply couldn’t run the same paces and was beaten down. They say you are fine after a couple of days, but long distance training-wise, I was not. The next time the American Red Cross called me, I casually mentioned that I had trouble last time and that I was a marathoner. They immediately told me I should not give blood.
So I haven’t since, but I always feel a little bad about it. Especially since the Red Cross has recently indicated that they have a real shortage. So what is a gal to do?
I suggest if you are not distance training, please sign up ASAP. There are local blood drives on a daily basis and you CAN save a life. If not LIVES.
If you are a distance runner and have been advised against donating regularly, there is another option. This week, I registered to become a donor with the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. By doing so, I may be called upon to donate my bone marrow or peripheral blood cells. If called upon, it will certainly screw up my training. But it would be more than worth it to me because it would mean that I am a perfect match for someone with a blood cancer in need.
Sign me up! It costs $100 to register and send in your cheek cell sample. However, if you are interested but really can’t afford it, you can use Google to search for a National Bone Marrow Donor Program promotion code and you will readily find a means to do it completely free. I encourage you to do so – it could save a life.
Whatever works for you, I urge you to ensure you are doing something. Giving blood regularly doesn’t work for me, but I have found an alternate. You can too. If joining the Bone Marrow Donor Program isn’t for you consider volunteering your time with the American Red Cross or you could even raise money for cancer research by partnering up with an organization like Team in Training. We can all help and we all know there is always a big need. Please do.
Do you donate blood and if so, how does it (or does it not) affect your training? If you advocate for giving blood while training, we’d love to hear from you. Of course, we’d love to hear your stories if you’ve been able to match and donate to someone as well.