Attention life-savers and people sick of winter:

It’s the return of Manic Mommy’s Virtual Blog Blood Drive! Click here for details. The basics: donate blood from Jan 1 to Feb 28, 2009, get your picture taken while donating, and send the pic to Manic Mommy to enter the contest! It doesn’t matter where you live, just go to your local blood bank or blood drive and get your picture taken. First prize is a week at a Florida resort, and there are gift cards and stuff too. I won last year though it wasn’t a big enough contest at that point to give away a vacation!

A couple notes for those of you who have been rejected for low iron: I learned that ‘normal’ hematocrit is 35-45% but (at least around here) the blood bank requires at least 38% to be eligible to donate. They test this by a simple finger prick. Your iron level can fluctuate a lot so if you just supplement/focus your diet a bit before you go, or do that if you get rejected and then you can even go back the next day to try again, you may just be eligible after all! I also learned that 75% of people are able to get back to this iron level in the eight weeks required between donations and it’s harder for women than men, so you might need to focus your diet/wait just a bit longer if you have recently donated. Just because you’ve been rejected before does not mean you will be if you try again!

In central Indiana, you can even schedule appointments online, get points and prizes, and track your donations and cholesterol over time. I just signed up last week and the system knew my last 1.5 gallons and cholesterol readings from the last few years. Of course you can do walk-in donations too! Check out

Some other upcoming events I’m considering: Komen Race for the Cure for my friend Dawn’s mom, April 18 (run, walk, or donate), and cycling around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Tour de Cure for diabetes, June 13. Who’s in?

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