One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand. Do you know that every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood? If you count it out again, you’ll realize there’s another person who needs blood—and then another.
The Red Cross provides approximately 40% of our nation’s blood and blood components, but only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood per year.* That’s why giving blood is essential.
Believe it or not, even though I’m a physician, I’d never donated blood until last week. I used to be needle-phobic, and I still don’t like them, but can get by when I have to. My early fear of needles led me to found Thimble™, which creates products to reduce needle pain and stress. Coincidentally, the day our Recover patch officially launched (woo-hoo!), I discovered a Red Cross blood drive in nearby Manhattan Beach. Donating blood seemed like a perfectly fitting way to celebrate, especially since I was carrying our new patches.
I signed up online and answered some questions, then answered a few more questions in person to ensure I was a good candidate. A nurse on staff took my blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. Then I had my finger pricked (honestly, ouch) while chatting with the on-site nurses and phlebotomists to learn about their own pain points. They were astounded to know that this was my first blood donation experience and were eager to learn more about Thimble.
My phlebotomist watched intently as I applied the Recover patch to the site instead of using the typical gauze and red tape. Afterward, I sat in the post-collection waiting area for 15 minutes to ensure I wasn’t feeling lightheaded (I didn’t—I felt great). During that time, it was a pleasure to connect with other donors and to find out that many of them donate regularly. They told me why and how they give blood, and it occurred to me these people were all motivated by a deep care for humanity.
I also talked to the doctors, phlebotomists, and donors about the Recover patch and gave out some samples. It was illuminating to hear stories about how Thimble could help their own family members or friends with their stress and fears around needles.
In reflecting back on the experience, I recognize that those who donate blood are remarkable. It isn’t easy, so kudos to all of you who do it on a regular basis! And it is a truly selfless act that saves lives.
The blood itself goes to transfusions for patients in a wide variety of circumstances. They may be going through surgery, childbirth, or cancer treatments. They may have serious injuries, liver failure, severe infections, or anemia. Regardless, it all goes toward vital, lifesaving measures, and one donation can save more than one life.
That day, it felt liberating to finally conquer my own fears and donate blood. I was grateful to have my Recover patch to soothe my arm afterward. It also gave me a sense of pride, and a little bit of awe, to use the product my team and I had painstakingly developed. And I was happy to be able to share it with others.
The blood drive was a milestone occasion for me, but it was also an event that I intend to repeat in the future—armed with a Recover patch, of course. And if one more person donates blood because Thimble has helped them, I’ll know this journey has been worth it.