Why I am Proud to be a Blood Donor


I wanted to take a moment to talk about our fellow Red Crossers at Blood Services.  I have been a regular platelet donor for the past year (I’m officially at the year mark!  Woohoo!).  I was reflecting on that fact with a friend the other day, and he asked me what all was involved.  I told him that every two or three weeks I go in and spend 2 or 3 hours hooked up to a machine that takes my blood out, spins it around, and separates out my platelets (which I lovingly call my Orange Juice, since they’re a lovely shade of orange.  Haha).  He looked at me with an odd look and asked if it was a requirement of my job.  I told him that it wasn’t, I just volunteered to donate.  With a questioning look on his face, he asked why on earth I would do that when I occasionally complain to him about not having enough time to do all of the things that I want/need to do.
This got me thinking.  Why do I do it?  Why do I sacrifice so much of my own time to donate?  Why do I get put up with the overwhelming fear of needles that makes me queasy before the stick each week?  Why do I donate blood? 
American Red Cross – Holiday Blood
Earlier this week, I got my answer.  I was corresponding with a friend and colleague via eMail a few days back, and made the off-handed comment that the “Vampires were after me again”  (I had just received an eMail from Janine, the Donor Recruiter who schedules all of my appointments).  He asked what on earth I was talking about (I guess it does sound kinda kooky, huh?  Haha) and I told him about how I go every few weeks to donate.  His response was this:  “As someone who has received donor blood in the past, I sincerely thank you for your generosity.”  You see, my friend has Stage 4 cancer.  He has had many blood and platelet transfusions.  Just the thought that one of my donations may have gone to him is enough to keep me permanently hooked up to the machine.
I urge everyone, in this season of giving, to give of yourself in a way that not only can, but WILL mean the world to someone, somewhere.  If you can’t donate platelets, please consider a whole blood donation.  This process takes much less time (30 minutes or so) and you can give whole blood every 56 days.  If you aren’t eligible to donate for some reason, please consider asking your friends, family and co-workers who may be eligible to donate.  The life you save could be someone who you hold dear.
To find the nearest blood drive or donation center to you, please visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS 

Kristofer “Luke” Bolz

Chief Volunteer Services Officer | AmeriCorps Program Director | DSHR Administrator
American Red Cross | Southern Missouri Region

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