Through blood donations, I have been able to help those in need. Since today is World Red Cross Day, there is no better day to share how the American Red Cross has touched my family. The Red Cross has many important humanitarian causes, but blood donation is the one that has personally affected me.
My need to do something good for the world led me to give my first blood donation in my twenties. I attended a church that was hosting a blood drive. I was able to speak with people who had given blood several times in order to calm my fears. Needles don't necessarily bother me, but I wasn't excited about that part. I had heard stories of people getting sick or fainting afterwards too. I didn't want to pass out or have a bad reaction after donating. I let those fears keep me from giving blood for many years as I figured there were plenty of other people out there who were donating.
It went better than I thought it would. I felt slightly fatigued the rest of the night, but I was fine by the morning. It went so well, that I gave a couple of more times.
Then, I became pregnant with my daughter, Jaycee. That meant I was no longer able to donate blood until after the pregnancy. When Jaycee was born with a congenital heart defect, she needed open heart surgery at 3 months old. A blood transfusion was part of her recovery. Because someone donated blood, Jaycee was able to receive the blood she needed. It was then that I realized blood donation truly is needed to save lives of people, even tiny babies with a hole in their heart.
After that, I wanted to give blood, and I did a few more times.
Then life happened. I let almost 8 years go by without donating. I had many reasons why I didn't donate. Besides her heart defect, Jaycee had developmental delays associated with Down syndrome. This made life hectic with therapy and doctor's appointments for some time. I had another baby. I worked part time and rarely had a babysitter when the blood drives were taking place. I can give a list of excuses, but I will say that it just wasn't feasible for me in that stage of my life.
As my children got older, I decided I needed to start donating blood once again. It really is an easy process, and not everyone who is able to donate blood does. I have finally gotten to 10 donations!
Blood donations are important, and one day you might have a loved one who has benefited from a donation. If you are able to give blood, don't let your reservations stop you. It is even easier now with features like Rapid Pass, which allows you to do a good chunk of the screening questions on-line prior to going, and donation scheduling, which allows you to pick a time to donate rather than waiting in line for an unknown amount of time. To read through the eligibility requirements, please visit the American Red Cross website.
Hope to see you at the next blood drive!
You can read more about the history of World Red Cross day on this site.