Giving Back During The Holiday Season

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 22, 2009

Approximately every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood.


Yup, I finally passed the hemoglobin test and was able to successfully donate blood today! :D :D :D :D

Note: If you don’t like blood you may not like some of the pictures below.

Just so you understand fully how much this means to me, let me explain…

I used to work at Canadian Blood Services.

In fact, I paid my way through my undergraduate university career by working 25 hours a week for 3 years at CBS while I was in school. It was a great place to work and I got to meet a ton of inspiring people during my time there.

However, there was always one problem….

I always failed the hemoglobin (iron) test!

Your hemoglobin levels must be high enough to donate blood or you are turned away. During my time at CBS, I was tested countless times and turned away each time as my hemoglobin failed to be higher than 12.5.

I knew deep down that the reason I was failing my tests was because of my poor diet. I didn’t give my body the proper nutrients it needed. I starved myself. I ate nutrient void foods.

I felt a void inside when I could not donate blood, but it took several years for me to finally get on my road to health.

In the past couple years, my diet has changed dramatically. Not only did I go from vegetarian to vegan, but I started being aware of the nutrients and amounts I was getting. Early in 2009, my doctor tested my blood and told me that my iron levels were great. Further tests this summer revealed the same.

I knew it was time to get back on the horse!

Today, I called up Canadian Blood Services and I made an appointment. Having worked there before, I am especially aware of how much blood is in need during the holiday season. The donation rates are often really low because people are traveling and busy doing other things.

I admit, I was a nervous wreck driving to the clinic.

What if I didn’t pass? What if I couldn’t give blood? I wondered.

I made sure to drink a lot of water and eat a big lunch right before I left. Water helps the blood flow and food helps with recovery and prevents dizziness and nausea.

I was anxious, anxious, anxious.

Then, the moment of truth:



I had a HUGE grin on my face that could not be removed! I was going to donate blood- that is, as long as I passed the series of questions…

After answering questions in a booth, and then more with a nurse, it was time to donate. I had the sweetest clinician attending to me. I told her how I was vegan and I was so happy I passed the test. She asked me a ton of questions about veganism and the time just flew by. It was only about 15 minutes for the actual donation part!

Notice that you don’t even ‘see’ the needle! It was covered up:


They ask you to squeeze a ball or balled up towel to get the blood flowing.


The whole process was painless! It takes 15 mins to donate 450 ml of blood (1/2 pint).

There is a tiny prick when the needle goes in but it was nothing. I barely knew I was giving blood!


Afterward, they ask you to put pressure on the entry point and stay on the chair for 5 minutes (10 mins for 1st timers).

Easy as pie!

A couple FAQ’s:

How long does it take to replace the whole blood taken during donation?

The plasma portion of a donation is replaced within hours, the platelet portion within days and red blood cells in about 56 days. This is why blood donors cannot give more often than once every 56 days.

How long after donating blood should a donor avoid strenuous activity?

Donors should avoid strenuous activity for about 6-8 hours after donating blood.

The whole process, start to finish, took about 60 minutes, but that was mostly because I stayed and gabbed away at the refreshment table for 15 mins. :) Met some lovely people!


I came home and did a little jig of happiness! What a high I felt.


I concluded that donating blood is very similar to running in a race:

  • You need to pre-fuel (Lots of water and food beforehand!)
  • Lay off the booze…completely ;)
  • You will urgently have to pee right before you begin
  • Your heart will race
  • You will tear up (on my drive home- what a sap!)
  • You will grin uncontrollably when it is over
  • You totally get to veg out the rest of the day- you need to rest!!
  • You will have to urgently pee immediately afterwards
  • You will consume lots of food and drink afterwards
  • You will eat dark chocolate in massive quantities because you deserve it (oops!)
  • You will wear your favourite shoes (note stilettos above!)

It may not seem like much to regular blood donors, but for me today was huge. I have been waiting for so long to do this, and to be able to do it is just an amazing feeling.

I always picture myself in someone else’s shoes and imagine if it was ME who needed the blood. It is such an easy thing to do, but it saves lives.

You can be sure I will be donating every 56 days from now on! :)


Have you ever donated blood before? Were you ever rejected because of low hemoglobin levels?

Would you try out blood donation?

Do you know your blood type?

For those of you looking for a way to make a difference I encourage you to consider donating blood. Obviously it isn’t for everyone due to religion, personal beliefs, or health conditions, but for those of you who can and would like to, I say give it a shot. It is SO easy, painless, and yes…FUN. I really had a fun time and I met some cool people. It was like a social hour…just without the cocktails! ;)

Also, a tip for women: If you have problems being rejected due to low iron don’t try to donate when you are menstruating or immediately after. Wait until the 3rd week of your cycle if you can.

I don’t know my blood type, but I will when my donor card arrives in the mail.

Still nervous? Watch this video showing you the entire process from start to finish!

Canadians: You can find a clinic near you by clicking here.

Americans: Click here for more info.

Brits: Click here for more info.

Off to make a big dinner! hehe


Coming up: My 10 in 2010… I will also be telling you what life changing experience I signed up for!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

Bree December 22, 2009 at 7:53 pm

oooohhhh haha i thought this WAS the life-changing experience :-P


Bree December 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm

i had a professor one time that asked our class who know their astrological sign (everyone did) and then he asked who knew their blood type and only a few people raised their hands…he was like “knowing your astrological sign is nothing but knowing your blood type can SAVE YOUR LIFE”…heck of a point lol


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm

so true! I cant wait to find out my type!


Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) December 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I love how you had the lady take pictures of you. After a while of blogging, we become shameless. Great work!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm

yes, I am shamelesssssssssssss lol


Kelly Michelle December 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm

thank you for bringing awareness to such an important issue! I try to donate at least 2 or 3 times a year and wish everyone could do the same! I have been rejected for my iron many times in the past but not in a very long time due to similar changes in my diet to yours!


Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) December 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Good for you Angela! I’m going to look up a clinic close to me :)


Becka December 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Yeah, I’m going to have to humbly disagree on this one. I have never and I refuse to donate blood because I have an uncontrollable fear of needles and to me they hurt really badly (no little prick, extreme pain and terror) and are the complete opposite of fun. Even looking at your pictures above made me feel dizzy. I’ve had to get blood taken once for medical reasons and it took almost 2 hours for me to calm down enough for (MALE) nurses to be able to hold me still. Yeah, it’s that bad.

But, more power to you and others that can do it.


Kristie Lynn December 22, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I have that problem too – even routine shots are a problem because I psych myself out and end up passing out at least half the time. I feel kind of guilty that I don’t but I know that if I went to try I would end up passing out and not being able to give anyway!


Chelsea December 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I used to donate blood every 60 days but I got out of the habit after training for the Ironman and then when I got pregnant I couldn’t. I should start again. It is so easy and it can save people’s life! I’m A positive and keep my blood donor card in my wallet!


Katherine December 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Congratulations on passing and being able to donate!! I started donating when I was in high school and have done it a few times since then. I’d love to get in the habit of doing it though. My father used to donate every few months b/c he and I are both O+!


katherine December 22, 2009 at 8:19 pm

I think it’s awesome you’re doing a post on donating blood.

I used to donate blood but I always felt like I was going to pass out when I donated so after two almost pass-outs they told me it wasn’t worth it and i should stop coming. i felt kinda disappointed that I couldn’t give blood.

is it true that if you can’t give a whole bag of blood they don’t use it? were my attempts in vain?


Danielle (Coffee Run) December 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Congrats for passing the test! I’ve never donated blood before because I assumed you couldn’t be active for a while afterwards. But 6-8 hours?? That’s nothing! Do you have to be sedentary before too? I’m definitely interested now


Amy December 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm

During my last semester of nursing school, I was driving home from my clinical at the hospital and passed the blood bank. I had also just heard on the radio they were short on doners and walk-ins were welcome. So, I stopped and went in to donate. I passed all the screening, they found a vein, poked, I’m good. I was almost to the end when I started seeing black spots. I knew my blood pressure was dropping, I hadn’t eaten since breakfast nor did I drink much throughout my long day at the hospital. They stopped my donation and tried to get me to eat. I was nauseated by that time. I was also mad knowing they would probably trash my *almost* full bag of blood because it didn’t weigh enough. The whole experience was a downer for me. See how you are laying there with your legs crossed at the ankle? I kept laying like that because it’s how I’m most comfortable and the tech kept making me uncross my legs. I was cold and uncomfortable. I haven’t been back to the blood bank since. Not out of fear of the blood or needle, but I’m afraid my body will fail me again. I’ve always wanted to fuel up and be well hydrated before giving it another shot, but just never have done it. I’ll also be curious to know if you notice a difference in your workouts, post donation. Good job, girlie! :)


Morgan December 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Good for you! I donate every chance I get. It’s an easy thing you can do that can make a world of difference for someone. Both my brother and mother have needed a lot of blood during surgeries, and I feel good contributing to something so necessary!


MB December 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Congrats on finally being able to give blood.

I used to go with a group from work every 60 days but they did away with the limo pick up and drop off program so I haven’t done it in a while. I need to go to the hospital to visit my cousin so I’ll be sure to go and donate when I’m there.

I am B+.


Courtney December 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

I used to LOVE giving blood especially as I have a more rare type. I always hoped someone else out there who had my rare type was giving too in case I needed some! My friend and I would give blood in college and race to see who could fill up the bag fastest! LOL. BUT…I spent a semester in England and now am no longer allowed to give blood in the USA even though it was about 12 years ago. There is a restriction on those that lived in England during a certain time because I may carry mad cow disease! So disappointing, and such a waste of a willing blood donor.
Glad you did it…good for you!
adventures in tri-ing


maria December 22, 2009 at 8:34 pm

I agree that donating blood is important… unfortunately I had a bad experience the first time I donated and I’ve been nervous to try again ever since… :(


Kelsey December 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm

way to go angela! my dad always donates blood (my mom can’t due to an illness when she was young) so hopefully i can someday too :]


Leah @ L4L December 22, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I can never donate blood because I lived in Europe for 9 years, circa Mad Cow era. Very sad. I wish I could donate.

My fiance donates as often as possible, ever since his brother got really sick and had to rely on infusions to stay alive.


[email protected] December 22, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Can you donate plasma?


Maria December 22, 2009 at 8:44 pm

That’s so lovely.

Angela – would you be willing disclose what your pre- and post-haemoglobin levels were? I am not aenemic but chronically sit at about a 3 for my ferretin stores (I know! I baffle both my MD and my ND…)

Not being able to donate has always been a downer for my, as it’s a passionate pastime in my family.

Thanks. :)


Tiffany December 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm

That’s so great that you were finally able to give blood! My boyfriend’s father has been donating blood every 2 months for many many years now, and I think it’s wonderful. However, I have never been able to give blood because while I am definitely older than 16 (23, in fact, haha), I am under 110 lbs… that’s too bad. Thanks for giving us a recap of your experience!


[email protected] December 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm

That’s awesome. I have given blood and I always think that I need to do it more. Even if you’ve travelled your can still give plasma.

It’s saving someone’s life..

Are you a blood marrow donor? It’s a good thing to think about.


Jen December 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Good for you Ange! What a wonderful way to give back during the holidays. I’ve never donated blood myself…tried to once during high school, but I get so woozy at the sight of needles that they actually had to sit me in a separate room before I even had a chance to attempt a donation. My husband and I aren’t eligible to give blood because we visit the Dominican Republic pretty often. They have a high rate of malaria there, and while neither of us has ever contracted it, they pretty much won’t bother with you if you’ve been there within the last six months (and we go 2-3 times a year, so it’s always within six months of our last visit). I’ve never needed blood, and knock wood, hopefully I never will, but kudos to you and all the other donors out there who step up to the challenge! Merry Christmas!


Mary December 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I JUST wrote a post with my goals for 2010, and donating blood was on there! I’ve always been too afraid to donate blood, but in recent years I’ve been under doctor’s supervision for a medical conditions that require s blood samples all the time, and it hit me: it’s about time I actually donated! Thanks for posting such a comprehensive overview… it helps to de-terrify it a little bit :)


sarah (ghost world) December 22, 2009 at 9:16 pm

you are so awesome for doing this and raising awareness!!! thank you!


Jackie @ TriToLose December 22, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I just started giving blood again. I have O- blood. But, I always used to pass out!! They told me I should stop coming in. :) I tried again last year and I was successful. The trick – for me – is drinking A LOT of water beforehand. :)

Congrats on your successful donation!

Jackie @ TriToLose


Kristen December 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I wish I could but I never weigh enough =/ The absolute minimum they told me was 110.


Mae December 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm

This is so inspirational. As soon as I weigh enough, I hope to give it a shot. Thank you for this post!


Sara December 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I loved this post, Angela!

Last year at this time I was in a strong battle against Leukemia. I required NUMEROUS blood transfusions as well as plenty of platelets. I remember the doctors being anxious when they knew I needed a transfusion on the 23rd of December, as there was barely any blood out there. I also remember seeing this on the news and it made me really nervous. Luckily, as I was considered some-what ‘high priority’ I was able to get the blood that I needed, but I know that there were MANY others out there that had to wait.

Thanks to amazing people like YOU, I am alive today!

(I loved to see the DONOR’s side of things!!!!!)

Thanks Angela <3



Lily @ Lily's Health Pad December 22, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I’m glad that you were able to give blood today. I’ve given blood several times before, but not recently. This post definitely gave me the motivation I need to sign myself back up!


Jen December 22, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I’m really happy for you, but reading about people giving blood always makes me sad, because no matter how much I want to, I can’t! Which is really bad as well, because I’m O negative, which is the most useful kind of blood!
I think giving blood is a really amazing thing, make sure that you go back next time too! I think a lot of people do it once, say that they want to do it again but don’t actually get round to doing it.

I bet the iron levels were high because of your green monsters!


Jessica December 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I just donated blood a few weeks ago in Peterborough. I’m one of the few people in my family who can donate (medical issues and all that). I love doing it too!


Anne P December 22, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Aw good for you :) I’ve always wanted to give blood but I can’t :( I lived in Europe during the mad cow time period and apparently now I may or may not have mad cow, lol.


Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope December 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I donate every 120 days. I have been turned away a few times d/t low HgB, but i also go back and it is back to normal after I eat some higher iron foods. I am O negative, so i feel it is really important for me to donate. Plus, I work in the ICU and hang blood all the time, so I see the end-result of donation and know how important it is.


Amy December 22, 2009 at 10:19 pm

A complete side note: I think its awesome you’re rocking stilettos whilst donating! :)


Anna December 22, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I’m so stoked to hear that you donated!
I’ve always been an advocate of blood donation but I never did myself because I’ve always had a bad phobia of needles – even having to get blood taken from me every other week for several months didn’t make that go away. Three years ago though I finally sucked it up though and donated – something along the lines of “hey, yes, I have a phobia, but it’s entirely mental and I know that – but the blood is real, and the blood helps people, which is way more important than my anxiety – there are mechanisms for coping with anxiety.” It means that they are always asking me if I’m okay when I donate because I practice deep breathing and imaging, but I donate when I’m able to – thanks for the tip about the best time for our iron to be up – I do struggle with low iron levels (despite working with my Dr. and incorporating a lot of iron rich foods into my diet), so it’s always a guessing game – I’ll make sure to help out the odds next time.

You get a red star for giving the gift of life today :-)


Marilyn December 23, 2009 at 2:55 am

I hate needles. I start giggling nervously even when just doing a quick blood draw, and cannot bear to watch the needle go in, and can’t stand looking at the needle in my arm. But like you, Anna, I can’t imagine not giving blood when I can. I hate needles and can’t help but physically react with panic around them. I take deep breaths as well, and glue my eyeballs in the opposite direction of the needle because it is so important to me to give blood. (It’s the same reason I donated my hair–while it’s uncomfortable for me for awhile, I cannot imagine how hard it would be to not have hair, or not have blood).

I have had problems with iron in the past, but I’m currently on iron supplements (available at most drugstores!) and haven’t had problems since. I am also sure to treat myself on blood donation days–I eat heartily, drink LOTS and LOTS of water (this helps with feeling light headed). I’ve been able to do a varsity practice afterwards no problem.


Alex December 22, 2009 at 10:27 pm

You continue to inspire me, Ange. That’s amazing and just went on my goal list.
I’ve just used your link and found the clinic closest to me- it is soooo close it is silly to think of NOT going. and 56 days? That flies by. I really, really hope I am able to donate.


Kelly December 22, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Congrats on being able to donate! That’s so wonderful.

I’m so envious of people who are able to do it; I can’t because I don’t weigh nearly enough. My whole family donates and I feel terrible every time they go and I can’t. And it kills me when perfectly eligible people don’t care enough to do it. Anyway – you’re awesome for finally passing the test and caring enough to post about it!


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 22, 2009 at 10:36 pm

What a wonderful gift! I have donated blood a few times and each time passed out after. I like the donuts they give you. :)


[email protected] December 23, 2009 at 1:30 pm

This is exactly what I am afraid of – I tend to psych myself out!


Carrie December 22, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Being a nursing student, I give blood quite a bit!! I also see the need for it! The only time I was denied was when I had been in a foreign country for a mission trip that previous summer


Carbzilla December 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Angela – You rock and, YEAH, I noticed the stilettos. I thought those actually proved how brave you were.

I’ve had chronically low iron in the past but I have a feeling it will be A-okay when I get it checked next time because I haven’t missed a spinach smoothie in a long time!

I always have to pee right before anything I’m nervous about – always!

Way to go.

PS. I’m O+, my husband is A+ – His parents told that was the only A+ he ever got :(


Lindsay @ lindsayruns December 22, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I donated frequently in HS, but I was right at the weight line (110 lbs) and often passed out and or went dangerously low on BP. Haven’t since my last time 6 years ago bc of a major scare (I blacked out long term) I’ve got a pound or two more than that now ;) maybe I should try again this year!


One Healthy Apple December 22, 2009 at 11:29 pm

That’s awesome! The only time I donated I passed out in a bathroom a few hours after! I tend to do that quite often, so I don’t think it’s my thing but I’m impressed with your accomplishment!


Katie O. @ Fit to Wed December 22, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I really want to know my blood type! I’ve asked my primary doctor in the past and he’s told me “you don’t need to know that.” Ummm, what? Maybe it’s time for me to look into a new primary. I’ve never given blood but I would absolutely consider it- needles don’t bother me but I get lightheaded from losing even one vial of blood (when getting my cholesterol tested) so that’s caused me to shy away from the idea. Thanks for the inspiring post- donating blood is definitely something I should think about and pursue!


Nicole, MS, RD, LD December 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I’m A+ blood type — easy to remember : )

I gave blood just about 2 months ago at work. I’ve never had low iron or hemoglobin, but I felt SOOO weak for WEEKS after giving blood the last time. My running was so hard and I was so tired. I really do feel it was due to giving blood :(


Stephanie December 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm

I do know my bood type!! I’m AB positive (rarest type!)

I have assisted with many a blood transfusion in hospital, they are VERY common. You did a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Sadly, I have an autoimmune disease which is currently preventing me from being able to donate blood.


'Dee December 22, 2009 at 11:48 pm

OK, first, I love that you had to wear stilettos to give blood. Knew I liked you.

Second, this made me take a fresh look at blood donation. I used to give frequently but had a couple of bad experiences with inconsiderate “needle administrators” that actually left the inside of my elbow scarred! They thought I would be a “slow bleeder” (WTH???) and so used a BIG needle. I got frustrated after the second time nobody listened to me and butchered me. Now, that was here in the states, and I know it was just an unfortunate couple of incidents, but it kept me from going back.

I do remember how good it felt knowing that I was helping someone. I think I need to try going back, maybe to a regular blood center and not those “event driven” ones where everyone is in a hurry.

Thanks for the nudge (as always!)


Carolyn December 22, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Congrats!! It’s been a while since I donated, so I’ll have to get back on the horse.


Katrina M December 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm

way to go ange!!!

i have donated pretty often in the past year or two. my mom always had too high of a pulse, so she never could, but she has that under control now and has been asking me to go with her. it’s been fun, and i enjoy doing something that i know is helping others out there.

the last few times i’ve gone my iron has been on the low side, they have had to spin it to get it to pass. i’ve been starting to drink some green monsters myself now :) so i’m hoping next time it’s higher!!


Janna December 23, 2009 at 12:00 am

Good for you for donating!!! And congrats on passing your test :) Yay for GM’s. I am not able to donate blood due to a thyroid problem. But my brother is VERY VERY active in blood donation and runs a drive every year at his school. GO HIM!


Jessica December 23, 2009 at 12:20 am

Hi Angela,

I’m a fellow canadian living in Vancouver and i’ve been an avid reader of your blog for quite a while now! I love your enthusiasm! This was the first time i’ve ever felt the need to comment haha. I’m 22 and I’ve been donating blood regularly since I turned 17. Save for a year after I pierced my ears, and some time away due to travelling, I donate every 65 days. And I have the same issues, my blood is on the low end of that hemoglobin thing. There were a few times I got rejected and I remember feeling so down because I couldn’t do my share to help! However, I still keep going back! I’m due to give my 25th unit of blood in January! woot!

I think its a marvelous thing, and that no enough healthy people participate in so I think its great that you’re setting a wonderful example for others!



Allison December 23, 2009 at 12:42 am

Thats awesome of you to donate during the holiday season. I have been turned away every time ive tried because my iron is too low. Hopefully soon ill be able to. its been on my list of things to do for a long time now and its kind of disappointing not being able to.
have a merry christmas, to you, eric and your cute kitty.


Evelyn December 23, 2009 at 12:48 am

I’ve always wanted to donate, but unfortunately will never be able to. I’m not sure what the rules are in Canada, but in the U.S. if you were born or even traveled outside of the States for more than 2 weeks in the 80’s you can’t donate. I was born and raised partially in Germany. I always feel bad knowing that I can’t help people in that way. Congrats though!!!! I always love the feeling I get knowing that I was able to help somebody in anyway, (and in your case, save their life).

Stay awesome,


Carissa December 23, 2009 at 12:52 am

Congratulations!! What a rewarding feeling to know that you can give blood, that your body is healthy, and that you’re helping people. I have to admit, the thought of having my blood pumped for 15 minutes literally made me queezy while reading your post.. my eyes saw spots for a minute even! So I will have to get over that before I can donate. You were very courageous. :)


Amy December 23, 2009 at 1:00 am

Hmm… someone mentioned their doctor told them they don’t need to know their blood typer. And that’s correct – it is not important to know your blood type. And definitely not necessary for your primary care physician to order the test just for your own curiosity.

I would like to mention even if you know your blood type, should you ever need a transfusion, your blood will be drawn prior to the transfusion and typed (A, B, AB, O) and also tested for the Rh(or “D”) antigen/antibody (where the + – comes from), there are many antibodies your blood will be tested for. In reality, to be transfused with cells of your own type and RH factor isn’t sufficient enough. If you’ve ever been pregnant or been transfused before, there could be other antigens that must be absent from cells you are going to be transfused with.

Additionally, once the lab has your exact blood type figured out, your blood will be cross-matched with the donor cells in a test tube. This will simulate the interaction of your blood with the donor cells before they are actually put into your body. Each time you are transfused, your “blood type” test results are only good for a period of 3 days or so (varies by policy). Sure, the records are kept on file, however when you need blood again, say a week later, your blood will be tested all over again for the “type”…etc. Seems complicated, and it is…but it’s a very serious deal.

So, to make a short story long…no one really needs to know their blood type, though it is interesting! Especially when you know your parents, or your spouses and childrens. It’s neat to see how the types work out based on the recessive/dominant genes.


Katie O. @ Fit to Wed December 23, 2009 at 11:34 am

Thanks for the clarification!


Lauren December 23, 2009 at 1:18 am

I am a regular donor, and you’re right-it is so fun and it totally is social hour! I love the ladies there. One is this really elderly lady who is as sharp as a tack and hilarious! I had one bad experience a few years ago and thank God, my fears to go back went away. If anyone else has had a bad experience, bring a loved one with you, don’t look at the needle, take deep breaths, and be honest with the person taking your blood. Once you get over that one bad experience, it is so easy to keep going back! I’m 0+ :)


shelly December 23, 2009 at 1:41 am

Love the shoes!!!

I gave blood when I was in college. I was at the borderline of the allowable weight (and had been turned away before for being too light) and was really happy to donate blood. I was fine walking back to my dorm, and I climbed up into my bed (I had the top bunk) and felt okay. I was resting comfortably when I decided that I was thirsty, climbed down, poured myself a glass of water, set the water down on the counter and passed out on my dorm room floor. I proceeded to faint twice more- once that afternoon several hours later doing laundry, and once again in the evening.
I’m not sure if I was just too light or if that’s my reaction to giving blood, but it has prevented me from giving blood again- mainly because I would have to drive to give blood. I don’t think I should drive in case I faint while driving.
It’s too bad because I would like to give blood. I just don’t feel that it’s safe for me to do so. :(


Marcia December 23, 2009 at 1:45 am

It’s not just you. I know some pretty big, 6′ tall men who faint when giving blood. Giving blood is awesome! But not if it makes you pass out.

I’ve donated before when people next to me pass out or start throwing up. Not pretty.


Casey (@Spicy&Sweet) December 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm

It’s great that you give blood! I’ve never done it before, but I want to. Merry Christmas!


Marcia December 23, 2009 at 1:43 am

Hey, congrats! I too used to fail in college. I definitely don’t fail the iron test now, but I do take prenatals still.

We’re regular blood donors…the rest afterwards is key! I’m usually very sleepy.


Jolene December 23, 2009 at 2:54 am

I have never donated blood before – and I don’t know my blood type. I would like to be able to donate blood, but I am am scurrrred!


Annie December 23, 2009 at 3:48 am

Congrats Angela! I am a big fan of donating blood and try to do it every 8-10 weeks. I am also a vegetarian and sometimes my iron levels are too low, but it hasn’t happened in a while.. I agree that it’s a very positive experience and it’s awesome that something so easy and relatively painless can help so many people!


The Voracious Vegan December 23, 2009 at 4:47 am

I’ve donated blood here in Saudi before but never anywhere else. I would have done it for free but they paid me a lot of money to donate, isn’t that crazy?

I am absolutely tickled that your healthy, vegan diet INCREASED your iron levels and made it so you were approved for donation. So many people think that we sickly vegans are low on iron. ;-)

Congrats on being a first time donor!


Laura December 23, 2009 at 5:18 am

Congrats on being a first time donor!

I always wanted to give blood but ended up doing it only 1/2 a time, lol. First, I was too young. Then I went to costa rica a few times, which is on the list of Malaria countries even though there is no malaria there. After that I finally went for my first donation. After about 100ml I almost passed out and it took me an hour to get back on my feet to go home again. Too bad it was so little they couldn’t use it. They really need the whole bag for the blood. If you don’t fill it up completely they can still use it for the plasma. but the amount wasn’t even good enough for that haha. I already feel lightheaded when they need my blood for exams. Even though I really don’t care about the needles and the blood, my bloodpressure somehow drops as soon as they get the tiniest amount of blood out of me haha. I read that drinking water helps, so I am going to consider giving it another try and fuel up beforehand.


RunToTheFinish December 23, 2009 at 8:00 am

what a great post!! I have donated a few times, but I still don’t know my blood type…seems like something that I should know.

congrats on not just helping others, but being healthy


Niki (Running in Pink) December 23, 2009 at 8:12 am

Good for you, Ange! I have to admit, I have been far too nervous to ever donate blood. In high school, I used the excuse that I was under the recommended weight (I was a little short string bean), and now I am just too scared. Maybe your post will inspire me to donate blood the next time I see a blood drive advertised! (Maybe I should add it to my Fitness Bucket List?)


Paige @ Running Around Normal December 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

Awww, good for you, Ange! That’s so awesome. Love the jig of happiness – haha :)
I’m the universal donor type, but that last couple of times I’ve donated have been disasters. I won’t go into detail for fear of persuading others not to donate – because one time it was my fault, and the other time it was the volunteer’s fault. One of these days I’ll get back to it, though!


Karin December 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

I also donate blood, it’s such a great way to help people and isn’t as terrifying as people seem to think.
A woman who once thecked my hemoglobin told me that some people don’t eat red meat (shocker), especially women which is really bad for the blood. I then replied that I’m a vegetarian. HA! So much to “you have to eat meat to donate blood”. What a lie!


Gillian December 23, 2009 at 10:20 am

Good job Ang! I have donated in the past but from travelling to certain countries in the past few years I haven’t been able to but should be able to soon! This was a good reminder for me to get back into doing it!


Anne Marie[email protected] Weigh of Life December 23, 2009 at 10:51 am

What an amazing story. Great job, Angela!


Mary Z December 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

This is so great! I have been turned away the last 2 times I went to donate because my blood pressure was too low. The last time, the nice tech told me to drink a soda and eat some chips before coming in to help raise my blood pressure.
It makes me happy to know I am helping some one in need:)


Diana @ frontyardfoodie December 23, 2009 at 11:16 am

Way to go! I need to do that too. Now I’m inspired!


Cynthia (It All Changes) December 23, 2009 at 11:23 am

You are lucky that you had a good person. I’ve given blood and it hurt like heck.

I used to donate blood all the time and then the US put a stupid rule in place that said I couldn’t because of how long I’d lived outside the US. I think the rule has changed and I want to try to donate again the next time they are here.


Jewel December 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

My husband and I have both been regular blood donors for years! He has gotten mugs and certificates for multiple gallons donated…I forget how many.

Since 9/11 I would go every 8 weeks like clockwork…but then I started being rejected for low iron and so I haven’t been back since last year.

Maybe I will go see if the green monsters did the trick for me too!

Thanks for the motivation to send me to the blood bank to check…and yet another great and creative post.


Kristin December 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

Congrats! I admit I have been slacking off on giving blood — I need to get back into a regular schedule. I did test too low for iron once (I don’t eat red meat, and I’m always right on the edge) and I started crying! The poor technician’s like, “Uh, you can try again in three days…” heehee! Which, of course, I did!


Megan December 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

About a month ago, I gave blood for the first time. Every year for Christmas, my family donates something in honor of my grandparents as their Christmas gift. Since my grandpa needed multiple blood transfusions this summer, we decided to give blood. I will continue to give blood as often as possible.


Tracie @hollafoodzone December 23, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I actually never thought about this until I read your post – I also tried to donate blood in college and was turned away because of my low hemoglobin. During my pregnancy I consistently tested as borderline anemic. I had to take iron pills, and even they didn’t really elevate my levels much – my doctor finally told me it was probably just a natural state for me. But now, I have been drinking green smoothies with tons of spinach practically every day for the past 6 months. Your post is now making me wonder whether or not this has changed things – I may have to make another trip to the blood bank to check it out!


Nikki T December 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Way to go on giving blood Angela!! Obviously, by your exciting post, it felt wonderful :)
I always have low iron (since I was a kid), so it has never been an option for me…but after your post, I may add it to my 1001 things to do list and see if I can pass the hemoglobin test at least once!

Have a very safe trip to the East Coast and a Merry Christmas!


Vanity&Sanity December 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Congrats on being able to donate! That’s awesome.

I’ve never donated as I am kind of borderline for the minimum weight requirement; I’m probably just over, but I’m prone to hypotension so I fear the combination would make me faint! My fiance donates regularly, though, and I think it’s great.


Leah December 23, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Wow . . . good on you for donating blood! I have always wanted to but Ive been scared. Im glad you posted all those pictures, it seems far less daunting now. I dont even know my blood type, but I really would like go and donate blood. I hear the commercials all the time, and some of them make me tear up a little. It really is the best gift you can give.


Lindsey @ Eat, Read, Run December 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I’ve tried to donate 3 times and was able to donate 2 out of the 3. The first time I fainted and the second two times I nearly fainted – they had to tip me upside down, but I made it. Any tips for that? I’d like to donate again, but I’m so scared to faint. I don’t look at it or anything! It’s so weird. But I do know I’m AB- !!


Rosalie December 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Wow, look how many people you’ve inspired! That is so great. I have been meaning to go over to the hospital near my work and donate. I’ve only done it once before, a couple of years ago — previously I was too nervous because I’ve always been terrified of needles, but I figure since I’ve managed to tolerate multiple tattoos and piercings I can sit through a few minutes of blood-letting. It still makes me really squeamish, but I want to make an effort to do it a lot more often. I’m O+, which I didn’t think was all that common but it seems like a whole lot of commenters are my same type.


Amari December 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm

You make donating blood so inspiring! I have always been too nervous to even attempt giving blood, assuming I would pass out or something completely unexpected. But I really do want to give it a try sometime in the future when I can work up the courage! Way to go!


Mo December 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Giving blood is one of my favorite ways to be a good citizen. I go every 8 weeks and it makes me feel better than practically anything else that I can do for my fellow people! Cheesy, I know! I was so excited to read that this is important to you too. Most people think that I make far too much out of it’s importance! Thank you for posting about this topic — you make SUCH good use of your blog!


rungirlrunn December 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Congrats on getting your iron levels up!! That speaks volumes for your diet :) And I think giving blood is just absolutely fantastic–you have no idea how many people can be dramatically helped by you taking the time out of your day to donate!!!


Michelle December 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I’m so proud of you! I give blood every 60 days, although I have to wait six months since I pierced my nose. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to give blood, it’s so quick, and you never know who you could be helping!!!


Cindy December 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Congrats Angela! it’s a great thing for sure and a great feeling to contribute! I went thru a few years where our blood drive folks asked me to stop trying. I have low bp and at the time had low iron…I had a very hard time recovering but now…esp after the baby…I must be eating much better becasue my bp is still very low but A+ on the iron and everything esle. I love getting the stats on your cholesterol. I am dontating again in January but as tired as I’ve been I need to pay great attention to my blood iron and make sure it’s all good so I still can!

I am AB+!


Jenny December 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Wow that’s so great Angela! Congrats on being so healthy, and being able to contribute to the health of others :)


Emily December 23, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Vegan and healthier than ever! good for you ange!!


Ariel December 24, 2009 at 12:59 am

This is awesome! I can’t give blood because I’m anemic and on freaky medications that make my blood kinda crappy… but if I’m ever healthy again it’s definitely something I would like to do. I’m great at getting needles now!


Amanda December 24, 2009 at 3:54 am

Good for you! I donated platelets for a while… it’s quite different. lol


Lisa December 24, 2009 at 6:24 am

Congrats Angela!
So funny to read this as I gave blood yesterday evening for only the second time. Such a good feeling! I’m a little woozy this morning but I may have by accident had a couple of festive drinks last night. Baileys doesn’t really have alcohol does it?:) Its practically a health drink;)
Here in Ireland the cut off for Hb is 12.5 so I’m getting away with it at the moment. This is quite high for me as mine usually hovers around 10 or 11.
Please remember to mention donating to friends because you never know! Yesterday I told our secretary that I was going to donate after work and he decided to donate for the first time. Then he mentioned it to a co-worker who didn’t have transport to the centre and she came with us so that was 2 extra donations just by word of mouth!


Katie December 25, 2009 at 1:09 am

I haven’t given blood in such a long time, and I use to do it all the time in college. Thanks for the reminder!


Eliana >^..^ December 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I love to donate blood and try to do it every 2 months. The last time I went I was rejected due to low iron. I am hoping that with all the green monsters I have been taking I get to donate soon. :O)

So glad you got to do it, it feels SOOOOO good to help others.



Fei Fei December 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Congrats on your first blood donation! It’s truely a wonderful feeling giving such a physical aspect of yourself back to the community. I remember being so happy after my first donation as well. Previously, I kept on getting turned away due to the places I traveled to (they make you wait around a year! D: ) So this fall, after finally staying put for the summer, I was given the ok to give blood. I remember walking into the clinic around lunch time (several hours after eating breakfast and not eaten lunch yet) and being told that my blood pressure was too low! Ack! I thought I was going to get turned away again, but luckily, they told me to eat/drink at their provided snack area (originally intended for resting AFTER donating blood) before donating my blood. So I actually spent 30 min eating and 10 min actually donating blood. lol! Then a few weeks later, I got my blood donor card with my name and blood type printed clearly on it (I’m type B rh positive). I remember being as proud as a peacock and flashing the card to all my (rather bemused) friends. haha :D Hope you’re excitedly waiting for yours as well!


mmclaughlin December 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm

All through college I tried to give blood, but I was always rejected for low iron counts. I stopped eating red meat, poultry, pork, etc…when I was 13 (I still eat eggs and seafood), but instead of replacing the meat I wasn’t eating with something else, I just kind of skipped protein altogether – expcept for what I might happen to get through the other random foods I was eating. After college I started paying more attention and focusing on getting enough protein. I’ve been giving blood every 3 months for the last 2 and a half years! I’m lucky that my company hosts a blood drive every 3 months (as soon as we’re eligible again), so I go down to the lobby on my lunch break to give blood.

Also, My blood type is A Positive. And so is my husband’s and every single person in both of our immediate families (including my parents, step-parents and half-siblings). Knowing that makes it very personal when I give blood. Because I know that if anything were to happen to them, I am contributing to the blood supply that could save them.


Marianne January 3, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I’ve never given blood – mostly because I’ve never been able too . If you’ve been pierced/tattooed within a certain time frame, you aren’t eligible. Plus, every time I’ve ever had blood tests, and they only take a few small vials, I almost always pass out (not because I’m afraid of seeing blood/needles, but just from the whole taking of the blood). I know I would be a good donor (O negative blood type – the universal donor), but it’s not something I think I could do. I’d rather be an organ donor.


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