Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Donating Blood

I hope this blog and post meets all of you in good health and spirits. I wanted to take a moment out of my day to write a post about something that I was honored to be a part of on August, 30, 2012. That something was donating blood for the American Red Cross. For years now I have been thinking of "giving" blood, yet for some reason I always had a "reason" not to. This time there would be no excuse because people in need do not need excuses, they need blood.

Each person that donates blood is someone's hero, and each person that donates has a reason why. I really don't see myself as a hero at all. I see the people who are in the hospitals fighting for their lives as heroes. They are someone's family member, friend, and in most cases, a stranger who needs our help. This is my own personal reason as to why I took the time to donate. I have had to watch family members lie in hospital beds as they received blood. I wanted to give back because in the end, sad to say, they didn't have the chance. I wanted to also honor my friend, Brian Boyle, as he was once one of those who needed blood...and lots of it.

Brian, who is one of the kindest people I know, had sent me an email with some great information on how and where to donate in Maryland. It seemed like fate because that same day, while watching TV, my wife and I had seen a commercial about an upcoming blood drive at our local hospital just a few days later. Within 15 minutes I had my appointment set up. I was both anxious and nervous because I didn't know if I would actually be allowed to donate blood.

I arrived with my wife and daughter and signed in. We arrived 30 minutes early to fill out paperwork and get the nervous energy down. My name was called and the ball was now rolling. A great volunteer took down all of my information, checked my iron and pulse. Everything checked out great! As a distance runner and vegetarian, I was worried about my iron level. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. With all of that out of the way, on to the next step, the actual donation.

I have to admit, these volunteers were very friendly and informative. My nurse kept me at ease as she was prepping me. She told me that they were down to a day's supply nationwide. Now more than ever, I was glad to be there. She told me to lay down and within 15 minutes my bag was full and my first donation was over.

I sat up on the table and they made sure I was fine to walk over to the refreshment table. When we first walked in we watched a young lady faint after donating. If you have never given blood, like myself, seeing this prior to donating makes the nerves skyrocket. I was fortunate enough not to have this happen as I stood up. I took my time and had some cookies, juice, and crackers. Another nice volunteer let me know when they would be back and when I could donate next. The whole procedure and day went flawless, and for that I am grateful.

Writing this post really does no justice as to how I felt that day. Even one month later, I still feel very honored to be a part of something great. There's nothing like knowing you have saved a life. That is a feeling that will last as long as I do. I can't wait until December so I can donate once again. I hope this post will also encourage you to donate as well. It's easy to forget about those in need because I have done that myself. I made a promise to never do that again. I would like to thank the American Red Cross for having some of the best volunteers. I would also like to thank Brian Boyle for being a GREAT ambassador.

And I want to thank those who have been in my family and are no longer with us. I wanted to show you all that I love you and that your memory will live in my heart for as long as my heart is beating.

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