We Are All Iron Man

Last week, Monday, was the one year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando.

Right after the tragedy, people came out in droves to donate blood for the injured.

A blood drive was promoted, at least in Florida, to honor the memory of Pulse victims, families, first responders, friends and the LGBT community.  Chris and I decided to find a donor center, so we could help our community … the human race.

In order to donate, you must have an iron level of 12.5 or better.

According to the an informational flyer I was given, “some donors, especially women, struggle with a lack of iron…”.

Women need an average of 18 milligrams of iron a day, while men need 10.

Unfortunately, I only measured a 12 that day.  What a bummer!!!  I was encouraged to eat foods listed on the flyer, to include almonds (1/3 c = .5-2 mg) , and return for another try in a couple days.

While we all probably know that red meat is full of iron, I want to share several others, especially for those who avoid eating meat (or like us, don’t eat a lot of red meat):


Bran muffin (1.5 mg)

Shellfish (3 oz = 4-5 mg)

Fish & Poultry (3 oz = 2-3 mg)

Pumpkin Seeds (1 oz = 3.2 mg)

Tofu (4 oz = 2.3 mg)

Sunflower Seeds (1 oz = 2 mg)

Egg (1 mg)

Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp = .3 mg)

Banana (1 cup = 1 mg)

Strawberries (1 c = 1.5 mg)

Raisins, Dates & Prunes (1/2 c = 3-4 mg)

Raw Dark Leafy Greens (1 c = 2 mg)

Cooked Dark Leafy Greens (1/2 c = 3 mg)

Hamburger or Cheeseburger (1 reg = 2.5 mg)

Beef Burrito (4.6 mg)

Beef Taco (2.9 mg)

Bean Burrito (2.8 mg)

One week later, after a pre-breakfast snack of almonds, a breakfast that included eggs (& bacon) and my multi-vitamin, back to One Blood I went,  determined to donate.

First thing, Meg placed the monitor on my thumb and we both quietly sent positive messages to the Universe for my iron level.  I kept repeating in my head, “13 or higher”.

It worked:  13.4!!!

While sitting in the lounger, squeezing a foam ball, my life’s blood flowing out for my first ever donation, I chatted with the phlebotomist about the lack of education, attention and advertisement surrounding blood donation.

I recalled a drive in high school (but I didn’t weigh enough to participate) and another in the early 1990’s when I worked at Walmart (I had a bad experience).  Chris has donated, whole blood and plasma, over the years, but I carried the bad feelings from my experience, saying I would only have blood drawn for lab work.

A few years ago, while attending a concert for The Fixx, we had the chance to be swabbed for bone marrow donation.  Except that because I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I learned I am unable to be a bone marrow donor.

So, in addition to the negative feelings I harbored from the botched blood donation, I now figured that since I couldn’t be a bone marrow donor, then I couldn’t be a blood donor.

Hence….a lack of education & awareness.

When I took to the “interwebs” to find a donation site, I also read the “Can I Donate” section for One Blood , an organization with which I was familiar because they have red busses, mobile donation sites, in the Florida counties where we live/have lived.  To my delight, nothing about my “situation” prevented me from donation!

I suspect that many people believe that the medications they take or the illnesses/diseases they have/have had prevent them from donating blood…and they would be wrong, as I was.

Blood donation is the cheapest way we can help our society.

Hell, it’s not cheap — it’s FREE!

I strongly encourage you to find a donation site near you, which costs you nothing but a little bit of your time.

You never know who it may help…it could be you, a family member, a friend.  No matter, it is a member of our human race.

If you are like me, not aware of your blood type, you can also get that information (72 hours later, usually).

If you are lucky, you might get a “reward” for your act of kindness (movie theatre ticket, gift card).

But the real reward, for me, is intrinsic.

 I also strongly believe that a federal health initiative should be undertaken to promote & educate blood donation.

Just like the “This is your brain on drugs” campaign, back in the day!

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