Donating blood is one of the few things any average non-medical professional can do to directly save lives. It is quick and easy, and with the experienced and expert nurses at Cedars-Sinai, virtually pain-free. There is a nice reception area with expensive donated art where you fill out forms for about five minutes. Then you are interviewed by a nurse for about another five minutes while he or she takes your blood pressure, temperature and measures the iron level in your blood to make sure you have enough to donate. Then it's off to the comfiest donor room I've ever been in, and I've been in them all over the country. The deep cushioned reclined chairs would be sleep inducing if you didn't have your own individual cable television with headphones. If you can't find something to watch on cable, the TV's are also wired into a series of VCRs, and they have a good selection of movies. They are happy to collect the traditional pint of whole blood, which takes about ten minutes. Or you can spend about 25 minutes doing the "double red cell" donation in which they take out a pint of whole blood, separate the red cells out with a centrifuge, put the other stuff (white cells, plasma, platelets) back in your body, and repeat, yielding them two servings of valuable red cells, which is what they need the most for transfusion. This is all done by a VERY high-teck and expensive and cool machine. If you can spare two hours, you can do apheresis, which is a platelet donation (they return the other components to your body) very valuable to leukemia and cancer patients. Afterward, you spend about ten minutes drinking juice and eating cookies in the recovery room, watching more cable TV, and then on the way out they validate your parking and give you a free movie pass. All in all, an extremely satisfying volunteer activity. And, given that only three percent of eligible donors in Los Angeles give blood regularly, the lowest rate of any major city, they really can use all the donors they can get. Give the gift of life--donate blood now.