As a home educated kid, I grew up going with my Dad to the Edmonton blood centre close to every week. I would sit near his chair and read a book while he donated plasma, or get to watch a coveted VHS while he spent an hour and a half in the curtained platelets room. I remember I would always get a special-treat glass of pop, and we'd sit in the kitchen and eat soup and crackers afterwards. I got to know many of the regular nurses by name, and it felt almost like a second family!
Naturally, the way I celebrated my 17th birthday was by making my very first blood donation appointment!
I mostly donated plasma for the first several years as it meant I could come in whenever I was able, and I liked having a longer time to sit and relax with a book. Whole blood was over so quickly! Since moving to Winnipeg over four years ago I've had to switch to whole blood donations (though I'd love to go back to plasma if the program expands). Busy non-student life makes it hard to find time to get out as regularly as I'd like, but at 26 I've still managed to reach 32 donations.
I may not ever reach the 300+ club like my Dad has, but I really respect him for showing me how donating blood should just be part of my routine as long as I'm healthy and eligible. Donating blood makes me feel like I'm part of a family, part of a "club" that secretly knows how awesome it is. I hope to bring my own future children along when I donate blood, so they do can learn that it's just...something you do, because you're a good citizen. We don't litter, we recycle, we say please and thank you, and we donate our blood.
It's so crucial to know that whenever we need blood to live, it's there ready for us. If I could talk to somebody who has benefited from my simple gift of a few hours of my time, I'd thank them for giving me the chance to do something good.