Yesterday, many of us in Southeast Minnesota (and all throughout the nation) woke up to the news of a horrific mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas. As I’m writing this right now, 59 people are confirmed dead, with over 200 people injured. It’s been declared the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, which is horrific considering the last one happened a little over a year ago. These incidents seem to be happening more and more, and I’ve grown frustrated over how familiar everything about all of this has become. It almost leaves you feeling powerless, as if all of this is out of our control. That’s why this time, I wanted to do something. So after asking around, I decided to make my way to the Mayo Clinic and donate some blood over my lunch hour.

But hang on, you might be thinking. Doesn’t that blood stay in Olmsted County? How does that help?

That’s true. But after speaking with my nurse while my blood was being drawn, I was informed that much of Mayo Clinic’s blood supply is purchased from services like the American Red Cross. But with the recent hurricanes and now the Vegas shooting all taking place in such a short period of time, that blood is obviously going where it’s needed at the moment. Which means Mayo Clinic will have a shorter supply of blood on hand. That’s why a local blood donation helps sustain Mayo’s current supply, which is a good way to make sure all bases are covered during a national emergency. The cool thing is that by donating blood on a local level, you're still indirectly helping out all across the board.

Credit: TSM Rochester

Because this was my first time, the process took about 30-45 minutes. I had to fill out a form, take a quick survey that confirmed I’m not a prostitute or steroid user (I am neither), get my blood pressure take. The blood drawing process, which wasn’t painful at all, took about 7 minutes to fill up one bag. It was very easy, and made better from the fact that they seemed very appreciative of my donation. Plus, I got a t-shirt and a sticker! It’s a small thing to do, but totally worth it if you have the time and ability.

So here’s the thing – if you’re feeling compelled to help out and do something, this is one great option.

Mayo Clinic has walk-in blood donations in the Hilton Building Monday through Friday from 6AM to 4:30PM.

Credit: YouTube