Saturday was the 2nd Annual " Be Colerageous Blood Drive" at our elementary school held in honor of our sixth grade friend who has Leukemia. This is an event I'm so happy to help the Red Cross and our friends organize. To say it was a huge success does not really do it justice. We were hoping for about 50 people to show up to give blood between 8:00 to 2:00 p.m. on a cold February Saturday and 67 people walked through the doors! At the end of the day, our little blood drive had collected 61 units of blood and saved on average 183 lives.
I love helping out with Blood Drives. There is just something about the energy of the day and the excitement of seeing people give of themselves in some small way. For many, it is a very courageous step give blood. Maybe they don't like needles, or they are afraid of blood,for some the fear of the process stops them from even coming through the doors. Those who don't let the fear stop them experience something really amazing.
My husband and kids have gotten on board with helping at Blood Drives too. All three kids were there most of the day helping in the canteen, making Valentine Cards for the kids at Children's Hospital ,and just soaking in a little of what it means to serve others. P gave blood too and knowing it's not his favorite thing to do I really appreciated his efforts. Plus his presence allowed me a hand to hold during my own donation.
I'll admit I'm not the best at giving blood. In fact since I first organized a blood drive in 2008, to honor a little girl who lost her battle with cancer and support her family (who have since become dear friends), I've only been able to give blood four out of six attempts. At the first blood drive, they rejected me immediately due to low iron counts. My second attempt they nearly gave up trying to find a vein resulting in bruises on both arms without even a drip of blood coming out; bad veins!
But this time, I was ready. I've been taking my vitamins for months, have been drinking lots of water and planned our meals last week to have red meat and lots of leafy greens. Lesson learned. Now the veins are another thing. I can't help how bad they are but I have learned to demand a "good stick" and for them to research my arms before attempting. This time it was the left arm and it only took about five minutes and two Red Cross workers to locate the right vein! I figure it will be awhile before I wear short sleeves as the bruise is a pretty blue and purple color.
All this to say that it was all worth it. Knowing that my little discomfort will be coming a lifesaving gift for someone else, I can't imagine saying no. In fact, I'm already planning on giving again in 8 weeks when the Red Cross comes to the Junior High for a Blood Drive. How can I say no.
Finally to lighten this up a little I do have to share a few of the funny outtakes from the day:
* We had some great volunteers. One of my friends did such a great job at the Registration Table, but when she first arrived she made me laugh. The Donors were told by the Red Cross workers to raise up their arms in the air after they took the needle out. To stop the blood and get it to clot.
When my friend saw the arm in the air she said "I think that lady has a question! I'm surprised the Nurse is not answering it, should we do something." Oh, Mrs A you made my day with that comment.
* Another friend who was volunteering was also going to give blood and it would be her first time. She was very nervous. When her number was called up, we told the Red Cross worker that it would be Mrs. W's first time and to keep her laughing he told her "Don't worry, it's my first time too!" I thought that Mrs. W was going to pass out.
*Mr C was working the Canteen for service hours for school and needed to have someone sign off that he had worked from 8:30 to 2:00 and according to him " It needs to be someone who is not my mother, I'm getting tired of doing all this volunteer hours and having my mom be in charge and sign off on the hours. It doesn't look good."
Thankfully, Cole's mom was more than willing to sign off and make it all look legit!
In closing if you've read this post and thought "Wow, I could never give blood." please reconsider. As the Red Cross says ....
The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give Blood.