Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Gift of Life

I started donating blood in 1981 when the County Government would have a Red Cross blood drive in the George Howard Building for County Employees.  Working next door made it too convenient to not do it.  Little did I know that like many other things in my life like running and now blogging I would make it a regular part of my life.  And like running my Type A personality soon set out a goal that I wanted to reach to keep me motivated.   The County donations only occurred twice a year so to reach my goal I started donating at the Columbia Donation Center.  The County was generous enough to let you donate during the day if you donated under the County Gov't group.  The group donation made blood available to any County employee without cost.

The Donation Center had pictures of folks as they reached new gallon goals.  Kind of a "Hall of Fame" on the wall.  The pictures were many for the one gallon donors and became fewer as you went up the scale.  The elites were definitely in the five gallon or more category.  The top was definitely in the ten gallon club.  Eight donations made a gallon so 80 donations were required to hit the 10 gallon club.

I started donating every 6 weeks which is the shortest interval allowed.  I was breezing through the gallons and then it happened.  A pulmonary embolism caused me to have to go on blood thinners and that knocked me out from donating blood.  After a year and in consultation with a hematologist I decided to stop my blood thinners to be able to start donating again.  Then almost exactly a year later a second pulmonary embolism happened.  That got my attention.  Ten percent of embolisms are  fatal so having been lucky twice I decided (with a little help from my family) that blood thinners are going to be a part of my life forever.  If only I had not just reached the eight gallon level!  Another goal not reached just like my running goal of running a 10 K race in under 40 minutes.

Donations go down in the summer and holidays so now is a good time to consider donating.  The need doesn't go down but the supply does.  Be a summer and holiday donor.

So is anyone willing to go donate the last 16 pints for me to reach my goal?  Contact the Columbia Donation Center and tell them that HoCo Connect sent you.  Do it for both of us.

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