December 18, 2012
The first two times I donated was because I could, the school drive was a few weeks after my 16th birthday, I could get out of class, I wanted to know my blood type, and mostly I really wanted the attention all of the upperclassmen got after they donated. I liked donating, for all of these superficial reasons, (isn't it okay to be a bit of an attention whore if it's charitable?). I never really thought about the recipient. I knew my donation would probably help save someone's life, but it was merely a passing thought as my classmates asked me if it hurt, or if I was dizzy, and telling me not to faint. I slept so well that night. My mindset about donating was shattered and re-built mid-November. I got a call from my estranged mother, a woman who lived about a 300 mile drive away. The great quiescence was on the bus ride home that day I was telling some friends of mine how my mother only ever calls with bad news. "Cera, Maria's in the hospital." she said. I instantly though she was in a minor car accident or something, I wasn't even close. She had Leukemia. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It was nearly impossible to except. Maria was tough, she can't have cancer, (I thought) Cancer doesn't happen to my family. Cancer doesn't happen to the people I love, so she can't have cancer, because I love my big sister. It was true. She had cancer of the blood. She needed units of whole blood and later on in her treatment platelets on multiple occasions. I visited her for winter break and I saw two pints of blood bring her hemoglobin up from six-point-something to eleven. She looked healthy afterward, when before she was like a ghost. Now I think about who might be receiving my donation. I will go out of my way to donate or help set up and volunteer at a blood drive. I have donated six times, and if my hemoglobin (iron) is 12.5+ then I will be donating my seventh pint on Christmas eve this year. I admit don't feel the best after donating, and I can't lie, I haven't always had the best experiences, but I know now that the little discomfort I may have, when I feel a little lightheaded, the little bit of healthiness I seem to lose for the day, it's nothing compared to how much better a repentant may feel after receiving my donation.