Sharing the gift of life

By Ellen Russell | Jul 11, 2014

Entering the building, I hear laughter and the hum of upbeat conversation. Double doors open to a large room where folks are seated at round tables, enjoying light refreshments.  A gentleman in business attire and a young man in jeans with a colorful T-shirt are joined by a lady in scrubs and a stout man in overalls. Everyday people from different daily routines, they chat and munch on fruit and cookies.  It’s not a game night or club gathering.  This party atmosphere is produced by a Red Cross blood drive.  All these folks of mixed ages and differing lifestyles have come to save lives by donating blood.  Others serve as volunteers to assist in various ways during the drive.

Why do these housewives, business owners, farmers, students or shop clerks volunteer to give blood?  Jenny has a nephew whose serious illness requires regular transfusions.  Dan’s wife, Alice, will have surgery next week using blood from their family blood bank.  Jason’s friend and coworker, in a car accident this morning, desperately needs multiple units prompting his donation.  Every single day events arise that demand this essential and life-sustaining fluid that only our bodies can produce.  What a precious gift of ourselves to give others in need.

A friendly volunteer registers me, then I take a seat.  Within minutes my name is called and I’m questioned about my general health and life style, which determine my eligibility to donate.  Next, I receive a mini check up – blood pressure, temperature and a quick prick of blood for assessment.  (A free health check is a nice perk of this mission of mercy.)  I return to my seat next to a young mother with a sandy-haired preschooler in tow.  She begins a conversation, telling me of her small son’s difficulties at birth that required blood transfusions.

“Without those donors, we would have lost our sweet boy,” she stated with conviction.  So, she made a promise to provide blood for others in crisis.  “It’s my way to pay back something money can’t buy that meant the world to us,” she smiles.

I pat her hand in a gesture of understanding as both of our names are called.  We march off to the donation area, her words of appreciation running through my mind.

You may not have a friend or loved one in need, thankfully.  For those of us who do, may we ask you to consider sharing the gift of life?  As many as three lives can be saved with the elements of your whole blood donation.  It’s a small effort to give such a huge amount of healing hope. When was the last time you saved a life?

Upcoming local blood drives:
— 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 12, at Crabtree United Methodist Church

— 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, at Long's Chapel United Methodist Church

 

Questions about donating can be answered by the Red Cross at 1-866-236-3276. Walk-ins are always welcome.

If you cannot donate blood, you might consider volunteering to help at a drive.

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