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Healthy Living

By Kristen Mucci-Mosier

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I celebrated my birthday this week, receiving many warm words and thoughtful gifts from friends and family. It got me thinking…what can I do to pay it forward? What’s a gift that I could give back to those who need it the most? Well, January not only marks the month I was born, but it also happens to be National Blood Donor Awareness Month.
I decided to get over my hesitation about the actual donation process and I signed up to donate this Saturday in my community. You can help those in Haiti and here in the U.S. by donating much-needed blood today too. What’s holding you back?

Afraid of needles? Try some of these tips from the American Red Cross to help you make it through your first donation:

Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Focus on the lives you may be helping to save by donating blood. By giving a single pint of blood, you may help save as many as three lives. You will feel just a slight pinch, and it’s over in seconds. The difference you can make may last a lifetime.

Know What to Expect
Make yourself familiar with the blood donation process – this will help you feel prepared for each step. And feel free to ask questions if you want to learn more.

Indulge in Distraction
You don’t have to look at the donation procedure. Bring a music player with you, read a book, talk with our staff or just close your eyes and relax.

Share Your Fear
When you arrive for your blood donation, tell the person who greets you that you are afraid of needles. Our staff will be there to talk with you and assist you during your donation.

Bring Moral Support
Many donors enjoy donating with a friend both for the moral support and for celebrating the good they’ve done together.

To learn what happens step-by-step at a donation, click here.

Plus, check out the Red Cross Tips for a Successful Donation and find a local blood drive by clicking here.

Or if you’re in the New York area, I signed up through the New York Blood Center: http://www.nybloodcenter.org