Recently, Griffin (my five-year-old son) came home from school and handed me a flyer.
As he handed me this flyer, he told me the story of Jake, diagnosed with cancer when he was four years old and in junior kindergarten. Then Griffin told me that he wanted me to go donate blood.
“You want me to donate blood for Jake?” I asked.
His reply? “No, Mom. Jake’s already dead.”
I’ve considered donating blood for the past couple of years, ever since my stepdaughter Laura organized a blood drive at her high school. I went and tried to donate, but they couldn’t take my blood that time because 1. I was dizzy and 2. I had traveled to a malarial area within the past year. I’m not going to lie to you, I was relieved. Like many people, the idea of giving blood makes me feel a little…weak. And I won’t be able to work out the next day. You know what? BIG FREAKING DEAL. Because there’s a boy who died when he was 7, who won’t be able to work out, oh, EVER. And donated blood gave him three more years of life, and gave his parents three more years with their beautiful son, Jake. So, on April 9th, I plan to donate blood for the first time at Jake’s Blood Drive.
Tomorrow, April 1, marks the start of #DonateLife month and I am asking you, too, to donate blood. BloodCenter of Wisconsin is a client, and is a phenomenal organization, and that has nothing to do with why I am writing this post. It’s just disclosure. I’m writing this post because it is truth. Think about it…you have the power to save lives.
I’m also encouraging you to sign up to donate organs and for the National Marrow Donor Program. I did last year, because of another boy, David, my friend’s nephew. In 2008, David went to donate blood for the first time with his dad. He was told that he was not eligible to donate that day because a pre-screening determined that he was anemic. Three months later, he was diagnosed with MDS, a form of bone marrow cancer. His only treatment option was a life threatening bone marrow transplant. David has had ten rounds of chemotherapy and recently had his 35th bone marrow biopsy. He is doing OK, thanks to donor T-cells that have given David and his family hope.
I’ll let you know in a 8 or 9 days what my first blood donation is like. If you’re already a regular blood donor, thank you, and I encourage you to leave you own story in the comments. Why do you give blood? What does it feel like? If you signed up to donate organs or are on the bone marrow registry, why did you do that?