Blood Donor Month: Witnessing the Gift of Life
By: Jamie Black
When you walk in to the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana, the first thing you see is a large glass window behind the welcome desk. Through the window you can see technicians with lab coats walking around with pints of newly acquired blood in their hands. Within those bags lies one of the most remarkable gifts that we can give to someone else. So as visitors walk in to the Red Cross and look beyond that glass window, they are catching a glimpse of an amazing process—people are giving the gift of life. These ordinary, everyday people are giving of themselves by donating blood to those in need; and thus are transforming into extraordinary, heroic members of our community. Sure, the donors may not see themselves as “heroes,” but rather they just think they are doing something good for someone else. But to the people that receive a blood donation, these donors are their heroes—and have given them hope for a better tomorrow.
For some donors, it is about overcoming their fears in order to give back to those who need it most. Donor Andrew recounted his triumph on the redcross.org website, saying:
"I first tried to donate blood when I was a junior in high school. I couldn't do it I almost passed out before they got the needle in me. I tried again at age 26 and was at last brave enough to do it. After I donated blood for the first time I felt an achievement I had never felt before. I knew I had helped save a person's life which is worth more than all the money in the world!”For others, giving blood means returning the favor. Donor Paul Doelling illustrates his desire to give back to the donor who saved his life as an infant. He states,
“I give blood to help save other's lives like mine was saved when I was born. I was born with Rh-negative blood and needed a transfusion immediately at birth. My mom said I almost did not make it, but I did. So I have been giving blood for many years to return the favor that someone did for me."Whether you donate blood because it’s a long-standing family tradition or because your high school is holding a blood drive, every donation is important—it is the gift of life. Going through the donor stories on the redcross.org website is incredible; hearing their dedication to improving the quality of life for others is truly inspiring. As a donor, it is amazing to see the recipient stories on the website as well. They are so thankful for the donors that are saving their lives with every donation that comes in—their message is one of true appreciation and admiration. Remember, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood—so what will you do to save a life today?
Each year, there are 16 million blood donations made in the United States—with nearly 5 million of those being from first-time donors. If you would like to make a difference through a blood donation, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org to learn more, find a blood drive near you or schedule a blood donation appointment. It only takes an hour and each donation can help save up to three lives! Together we can reach out to those in need with a truly remarkable gift, and in turn, become someone’s hero!