Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Challenge to You: Please read!

If you were one of the many people who helped fill Facebook and the Blogworld with rememberences about 9-11 last Friday, my compliments to you. Thank you. Thank you for helping us all remember for a day not only the lives that were lost, but the heroism of the men and women who served our country then, and are still serving our country now. Those who are overseas in harms way; those who regularly run into burning buildings when the everyone else is running out; those who daily leave a spouse and children at home while they patrol the streets to protect and defend and never know when a situation will turn violent; those who daily race against time and fate trying to save a life threatened by accident or illness. If you posted and helped us remember these heros, thank you.

But I have one further challenge for you. Please keep reading.

The same day that we were all busy typing up a few words of rememberence, I got a phone call from our local blood bank. The blood supplies are critically low. They need all bloodtypes, and they need them soon. At the time, the magnitude of the date on which I received the call didn't occur to me. I simply scheduled an appointment to donate for the following Monday, and went on about my day.

I arrived at the neighborhood Hoxworth Blood Center branch in the afternoon. Two elderly men were just finishing their juice and crackers and preparing to leave as I walked in. I took time settling my little boy in a chair and approached the desk. To be honest, I can't remember if it was something I heard the men say, or if (as I strongly suspect) I caught a glimpse of a patch or a pin worn on a ball cap donned before the men walked out the door, but I firmly believe the two older, grandpa looking, likely retired men were military veterans. In other words, men who had already given blood, sweat, and tears for their country. There they were, in the twilight of their lives, still willing to bleed to save the lives of others.

And that's when I remembered it was 9-11 when I received the call to give blood.

Do you remember eight years ago when people lined up for hours to donate blood after the tragedy? Do you remember how local blood banks had to start turning people away because they had filled to capacity their blood storage facilities?

Here's my challenge to all my Facebook and Blog friends. If you wrote anything at all about 9-11, and if your eligible to be a blood donor....call your local hospital or blood bank TODAY and set up an appointment to give blood sometime in the month of September. And pass the word along.

What if America could fill her blood banks to capacity every September? How much more meaningful would our words be, if we would back them up with something that each of us can do that would actually save a life. Even if medically you cannot give your own blood, you can help save lives by raising awareness.

Thank you for reading this far. You know that I don't often use my blog as a soap box, so thank you for indulging me this one time. Regardless of your political stand in the current debates, please help save a life by donating blood and by inspiring others to do so.

If you'd like to learn more about donating blood, including how to find a donation center near you, please visit https://www.givelife.org/index_flash.cfm?thisHB=09/15/2009%2005:14:31

If you live in the Cincinnati area, you can also call or visit the Hoxworth Blood Center

Is giving blood easy?  No, not really. I've done it twice now, and neither time was it a walk in the park.

Is giving blood painless? No, not really. You get stuck with needles twice. Once as a finger prick to test for anemia before donating and then the actual draw itself (which hurts a little both when the needle goes in and when the needle comes out, but can't be felt at all in the few minutes that the blood is flowing.)

Is giving blood convenient? No, not really. We all have busy schedules and sometimes adding one more thing into our list seems crazy. But, you can make an appointment that fits your schedule and works around your other activities and obligations.

Is giving blood quick? No, not really. You should probably block 45 minutes to an hour for the entire process of filling out the paper work, being screened (blood pressure, temperature, and finger prick), doing the actual draw, and then eating a light snackand resting for a few minutes afterward.

Is giving blood worth all the other issues? You bet.

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