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UBS in a pinch for a poke

Five minutes. One pint.

A record.

Last night I donated a pint of whole blood at the United Blood Services main regional center at 6930 W. Charleston Blvd. I was supposed to donate platelets, which takes up to two hours, but was pressed for time and donated just the pint. The “draw” took five minutes, which we all concurred was an unofficial donation record. So I got extra cookies in the post-draws “canteen” area, where looming overhead are many pictures of dignitaries who have contributed to the cause -- including the R-J’s Norm Clarke!

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Sit for a bit
United Blood Services

United Services reps – whom I refer to as the Blood Mafia --- contact me whenever I am again eligible to donate. Usually I give platelets, which are used for trauma victims but also have a very short shelf life of three days. Donors are actually eligible to give platelets every three days, but typically the crew waits two weeks to remind me that I’m ready for another draw. Whole blood donors are eligible again after 56 days.

Facing the holiday weekend, which is traditionally and tragically a particularly bloodletting period for auto accidents and assorted incidents, UBS is in dire need of donations for all types of blood. I have been told that my type, A-negative, is particularly low (only about a dozen units were available the last two times I donated). This is the easiest form of volunteer work you will ever encounter. All you need to do is answer a few questions (and try to stay out of Haiti) and sit for a while. Watch a movie. Catch up on your reading, though in five minutes I barely made it through the Weekly’s table of contents.

The needle poke is but a pinch. You meet some fun, caring people, and you are doing some good. I am in that rare Las Vegas demographic – a person who donates blood, who is also a registered voter who practices that right. But it is so easy, and so important. Get in the chair.

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