In support of the July 1 article regarding summer blood donations at Shepeard Community Blood Center, I would like to share my story regarding blood donation. I am 58 years old and began donating whole blood in my mid-20s when the bloodmobile came to our church.
Having been involved in an accident as a young man, my father realized the importance of blood donation, and as long as I can remember he and my mother were donors – an excellent example for me. They donated into their early 80s.
When my niece Karen was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, I became acutely aware of the need for platelet donation. As I sat in the chair at Shepeard one day giving whole blood, I asked one of the technicians about another person who wore headphones and was watching television, and the difference between her donation and mine. The technician told me she was donating platelets, then asked if I would like to do that. And the rest is history. I said, “Why not?” and began donating platelets every couple of weeks. It evolved into platelet and plasma donations (done at the same time, taking no longer to do both) once a month.
In May of this year I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was in need of surgery. A couple of days after surgery when I began questioning my family about everything that had taken place since surgery, I was surprised to learn that I had received two units of blood.
That is when I realized the full impact of blood donations. The cycle had come full circle.
The reason I share my story is to encourage those of you who can to go to a blood center – whether it be Shepeard, Georgia Regents University or any other center – and give that gift of life. I will be forever grateful to those who took the time to donate so that I could recover from my surgery and continue my journey.
As a footnote to my experience with Shepeard, when I informed the staff that I would not be able to donate for a while, they not only had good wishes for me but have made phone calls to check on me and sent a card letting me know they care. They are not only concerned about your donation, but you as a person as well.