The Gift Of Life


In the holiday season craziness, amid the stress of setting aside some gift money from your settlement checks and the additional stress of finding the perfect gifts, remember that one of the best gifts you can give is free: blood.

Blood is needed about every two seconds, and one of three people needs donated blood during their lifetime. Blood from a single donor can help up to three people.

To make it easier for you to give blood, TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers have grouped with other truck stops and the NATSO Foundation’s Drive to Save Lives. This year, more than 2,000 pints have been collected. For more information about blood drives at truck stops, go to

Blood donation takes about 30 minutes, following a private and confidential interview.

Your body replenishes the lost fluids in about 24 hours, though it may take up to two months to replace the lost red blood cells.

You cannot acquire any disease through donating blood because new, disposable, sterilized equipment is used for each donation.

About 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 5 percent does. To be eligible, you must be in good health. Weight requirements vary, but generally you must weigh at least 110 pounds. Certain circumstances can disqualify you, such as having used illegal intravenous drugs; testing positive for HIV; having had hepatitis, cancer or certain other diseases; having recent surgery or a new tattoo; taking certain medications; and recently traveling to other countries. After donating, you cannot donate again for eight weeks.

True giving expects nothing in return. Consider taking advantage of this opportunity to give of yourself. At least two truck stops, TravelCenters of America in Concordia, Mo., and Spencer, S.D., have blood drives scheduled for December, but the drives go on throughout the year at truck stops across the country.


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One tissue donor can potentially benefit as many as 50 people. Organs that can be transplanted after death include heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver and intestines. Also suitable for donation is the cornea, skin, bone marrow, heart valve, muscle and cartilage. Next time you get your driver’s license renewed, you can ask that your new one list you as an organ donor.


It’s easy to talk yourself out of being an organ donor because there are so many fallacies about organ donation. Here are the facts:

  • There is no cost to your family.
  • All major religions support tissue donation.
  • It will not interfere with any traditional funeral.
  • It is illegal to sell organs in the United States.
  • Hospitals do not give substandard care to donors. A patient’s medical team is separate from the transplant team.
  • Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after the patient has been declared dead.
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