Last night at the donor appreciation event they asked us to think of our story. Here's mine.
Approximately 13 years ago I walked into a community centre for my first blood donation. I was excited, nervous, scared even. I hate needles. Why? Why am I doing this? I kept thinking how crazy I was. Soon the paperwork was done and I was at the appointed time where the needle was going to enter my arm. That part goes the same every time. I look away and the needle is in my arm with very little discomfort. The highlight of my first visit was when they let me hold the bag of my blood in my hand. I couldn't get over how warm it was.
As time went on, donating became routine, every 56 days as long as I wasn't sick and I was eligible, I was in the chair donating. Some other highlights come to mind. One of the needle entry times when I prepared myself by looking away. I was asked if I was ok. I told her I was fine, but I couldn't watch that part. She said, "Don't worry, neither can I". and then she expertly put the needle in my arm. The laugh was all that was needed to put me at ease. Other times as busy as lives can get I'd bring my Son along and worry about how many cookies he'd sneak at the snack table while I was donating.
I donated because it seemed like the right thing to do. Then one day shortly after I had donated, my Dad needed a transfusion. He was always the toughest person I knew. That hit hard. It was suddenly clear why I donated. I cut the tension by telling him, "Ask for a pint of mine, I hear it's good stuff." We both chuckled at that. I wish I had started donating years earlier. I don't know if there will ever be a number of blood donation units to give where it seems like enough to thank the people who donated for my Dad. So with that in mind I'll keep on donating.
Many people have commented on how frequently I donate (56 as of writing this). Did you know that 1 in 2 Canadians are eligible, but only 1 in 60 actually donate? I'm small potatoes. Last night we celebrated people with 100, 150, 200, and even 400 donations. In comparison, they are the true heroes.