Tuesday, November 2, 2010
If you ask around, you’ll probably find that most people don’t know a whole lot about blood. Sure, we know that we bleed when we get cut, and it’s red, but that’s about the extent of it. When I first heard the title of the movie There Will Be Blood, I thought that it was a horror film. You can imagine my surprise when I watched that movie.
As a lot of my beliefs came from my Mom, it’s not a big surprise that blood awareness became a part of my life because of my Mom. She was a big believer in blood donation and gave quite regularly. She used to bring home those little plastic blood drops on a pin (parting gifts from the American Red Cross after giving) to proudly display on a shirt collar. Today they give out little stickers that say “Be nice to me, I gave blood today!”
I think my first blood donation might have been during my Mom’s oncology treatments for breast cancer. It was at that time, when I truly realized the importance of blood banks, apheresis and blood types. As she was going to need blood to replenish her own supply following a bone marrow transplant, the hospital’s blood bank would need to be replenished afterward. It’s one of those circular concepts where one side borrows life while the other side tries to give it back. Sometimes we can only work together with the hope that our efforts will bring a little relief to someone’s life.
I began to take great pride in my blood donations. I have given a lot of blood and platelets over the years. I’ve almost fainted a few times and gotten tingly lips and fingers at other times. When I give platelets, my feet still cramp up a little toward the end of the 90 minute donation process. But don’t ask me to stop; that’ll never happen. As long as I’m healthy and able, you’ll find me a regular on those little blue gurney things at the Red Cross.
I give the stickers to my youngest daughter now. She likes stickers, and thinks it’s kind of neat that I give blood. Anyway, I don’t need a sticker to remind people to be nice to me. That’s not the reason I give blood. I give for the unseen children and adults that are in need. It will never bring my Mother back, but it keeps her very alive in my daily life. I’m not sure that we can really give life, but we can contribute to it and hope that it continues for as long as possible.
I hope that my daughters will donate blood when they get older. Maybe they’ll take selfless pride, like me, and be able to think happy thoughts of their loved ones – past and present. We all need to make an effort to ensure that there will be blood for those that need it. It's a little gesture that goes a long way.