Let Your Blood Flow

I suspect the title of this post may make you wonder what it could be about. The French Revolution? Serial killers? Gynecology? Well, of course anything is possible, but it’s actually about giving blood, a thing that I encourage everyone who can to do.

One thing you didn’t know about me: I have donated over a gallon of blood in the last 25 years. In hindsight, I could have donated a lot more, but I only did it when it was convenient, which means when a Bloodmobile was coming to downtown Denver.

When I was 16, I started volunteering with the Red Cross at their blood donation center, as a receptionist and canteen worker. The most dramatic incident occurred when a big, burly fellow claimed not to need anything when he sat down after donating, and then just passed out and fell out of his chair. I broke his fall. Once I went away to college, it was too challenging to continue volunteering anywhere, due to work and school.

For years during and after college, I didn’t weigh enough to donate. Those times have changed with decades and a baby and desk jobs, so weight is no longer an issue. In fact, there’s nothing stopping me, so today I donated and I’m proud of myself. I’m also very proud of M, because he donated a few weeks ago for the very first time; he has the rarest blood type and they’ve already notified him that his donation was used to help someone. That’s a lovely touch. Since my blood type is the most ordinary of all blood types, I don’t know if it’s ever been used to help someone. It’s nice to know that it’s out there if someone needs it soon.

My area was served by the Bonfils Blood Center, which merged with other donation entities in 2018 and is now called Vitalant. Their services are the same, except the Rona has grounded their bloodmobiles. But despite their name change, I still have the “Bonfils tattoo,” indicating that spot in the vein that they always use. Of course, if a stranger doesn’t know about that mark, it looks like I”m shooting up some drug, which I most assuredly am not.

So if you haven’t, give this gift of yourself to a stranger. It’s fast, painless, and you may help save a life.

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