Let the bloodletting begin.

No, this isn’t about a bad experience removing an infusion set (fooled you, didn’t I?).

From the I Must Be The Only One Who Didn’t Know This Department comes this news flash:

I have Type 1 Diabetes, and I can give blood.


When the word went out recently about a blood drive at my place of employment today, I had the same reaction I usually have. I thought, too bad I can’t donate. Prior to my diagnosis, I used to do that all the time. Like, at least twice per year.

This time though, I wanted to find out exactly why. Admittedly, I thought there might be a blog post in it, so there is some selfishness going on here. Anyway, I went to the American Red Cross blood donation site to see if they had any information on it. Then I was going to try to find another source to see if I could determine whether the information from the American Red Cross was actually true.

There’s not a lot of information on the Red Cross site, but two things jumped out at me. First, the big surprise:

“Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate.”

I was ecstatic to find out that I could actually donate blood. As I stated above, I’m probably the only one who wasn’t aware of it, but I was under the impression all these years that a bad pancreas meant bad blood, and I couldn’t give. My father’s life was saved after an auto accident over forty years ago thanks to some great doctors and blood donations, so I want to pay it forward. Plus, even though it may sound weird to some, I consider it kind of a civic duty to give.

Second, something just a little scary:

”Donors with diabetes who since 1980, ever used bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about variant CJD, or ‘mad cow’ disease.”

This is not a concern for me, thank goodness. So for now at least, I can still donate.

Don’t be too excited for me yet… I still have to go through the initial in-person screening questions and blood pressure, temperature, etc. tests before they’ll actually put the needle in. But I’m feeling pretty good about my chances right now.

To find out more about giving blood here in the USA, the process, and more, check out the American Red Cross blood donation website at www.redcrossblood.org

What about you? T1D or not, have you given blood? What was it like? Were you ever told you couldn’t give blood? If so, were you told why?

I’ll let you know more about my experience tomorrow…

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  • Karen  On February 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve never given blood because, like you, I thought I couldn’t. So thanks for clearing that up for me. I guess my next step is to do some digging into my insulin. I’m guessing insulin distributed in the U.S. wasn’t made from British cows, but I’d better verify that. I’m not even sure I was ever on beef insulin at all (I just remember pork) but I sure could have been.


  • Scott E  On February 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I’m fairly certain that the insulin I started out with was beef- and pork- sourced (or, as Lilly liked to say, bovine and porcine). Whether those cows ate fries or chips, lived in apartments or flats, or fueled their cars with gasoline or petrol is something that I just don’t know. And for that reason, I don’t give blood.

    But I wish I could, and I’m glad you can!


  • Beth  On February 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Did not know that! Thanks for sharing! Will join my students at our quarterly blood drive!


  • Jocelyn Foster  On March 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    So glad that you were able to donate! Here in Canada anyone using insulin to treat diabetes is unable to donate. I hope that they can change this sometime in the future as it is such a great thing to do 🙂


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