Importance of giving blood (Opinion) |

Importance of giving blood (Opinion)

Matthew Wonnacott / Guest column
Dr. Matthew Wonnacott

According to the American Heart Association, every few seconds, someone in the U.S. is in need of a blood donation. Blood cannot be manufactured, it can only come from another person, making blood donation one of the most profound selfless acts. There are many reasons a person may choose to donate blood and the benefits are life-changing.

Donating blood benefits both the giver and the receiver, and is a simple way to give back if you are eligible. For the giver, it can provide feelings of happiness knowing they’ve helped someone in need and possibly saved a life. Studies show that helping others can reduce stress, improve your emotional well-being, reduce negative feelings and feelings of isolation, and give you a sense of belonging.

Receivers reap serious medical benefits, as blood donations can fulfill a wide range of conditions resulting in blood loss, such as surgery and organ transplants, burns, injuries, and cancer treatments. Blood is transferred through a process called transfusion; one of the most common procedures in U.S. hospitals. 

Donating blood for the first time may sound intimidating, but the process is fairly painless, takes only about 20 minutes. As long as you are in good general health, weigh at least 110 pounds and are at least 16 years of age, you most likely meet eligibility requirements. To prepare to donate, it’s best to hydrate, fuel up with a good breakfast and avoid smoking or drinking alcohol 24 hours before making a donation.

Barton Health partners with Vitalant, the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit organization focused exclusively on providing lifesaving blood services.

For upcoming community blood drives and eligibility questions, or to schedule an appointment, visit and use code SMFM062, or call Vitalant at 877-258-4825. Dates are subject to change, please check the website before proceeding to an event.

Dr. Matthew Wonnacott is Chief Medical Officer at Barton Health. Barton Health community events, including upcoming blood drives can be found at

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