June 21, 2012
What started as a selfish reason on my part has turned into almost an obsession. I began donating whole blood in college to get out of ROTC drills. If you gave blood you got a "pass" from Thursday drill time. After college, I started to work at The Hartford and took part in whole blood drives at work. Then my Church started blood drives and it became habit forming to donate. At one whole blood drive there was a nurse talking about apheresis and how platelets were used to treat cancer patients. I had lost a few friends to cancer and thought that this might a great way to 'honor' them. So I started my "pheresis career"! All along the way, whole blood and pheresis, I have recruited folks for both donations. A number of co-workers and friends have been "turned on" to Pheresis and are regular donors. I tell folks that donating is like getting a free medical exam as iron, blood pressure, and lipids (if you take a look at the collection bag in pheresis) are all checked. Recognition by the Red Cross is also a motivator for some (I have been collecting the gallon pins since day one - awaiting the 155 pin at this time). Bottomline, there are few ways one can save lives so easily. 5 seconds of discomfort when the needle goes in and you can save a life. Some of the nurses are so good, there is no pain at all! The donor centers I have visited are staffed by great people and have all the creature comforts one could ask for: TV, Movies, snacks, and super attentive and caring staff. Do they make 200 gallon pins....maybe I'll get there one day?!