Category Archives: #lovelight

Sheesh, Red cross

21-08-27 Red Cross Blood Donation Gone Bad

As I consider my life and what I do, it is important that I contribute. That is the reason I am a school teacher. I wanted to provide more to my community. In more recent years, I have taken to donating blood.

It seems that I struggle with the Red Cross. Globally, I am fine with the organization. It’s the details of the actual donation that frustrate me.

I was denied donating a couple years ago because I had had foot surgery and the wound was still not healed. Despite the local group running behind much of the time delaying my donation, they will squeeze someone ahead of me. I never complain, but when I was late for an appointment, they told me I would wait three hours. I have had more than one blood donation cancelled, sometimes unknown until I show up to donate.

Enough of that happened that I stopped donating several months ago. Screw ’em.

But as reflect on my life, I realize these inconveniences shouldn’t dissuade me from giving. I give because others benefit from it. Get over myself and think of the benefits.

With that in mind, I once again downloaded the app and made an appointment. It doesn’t appear that the local Elks club is running these anymore. Perhaps that will help with some of the issues. Who knows? Wanting to get back on the band wagon, I made an appointment for today in Hammonton.

I went out to the volunteer fire department, checked in, and had my blood drawn. All went well.

The lady who processed me was not the one who wrapped me up at the end. It felt as though there was some tension among the workers and one girl was left to deal with those of us on the benches. She unhooked me, bandaged me, and sent me for my water and cookies. As I reached to unscrew the water bottle, I noticed there was blood everywhere. I brought that to their attention. The lady who had done most of the work came over and cleaned me up, re-wrapped me, etc. She pointed out that I did not have the elastic bands applied to my bandage and that I should ask for them each time.

Yup, I always have these appiled. I suspect the girl who finished me took a short-cut. She didn’t acknowledge the flub, apologize, or otherwise address me. Pretty certain my shorts are ruined. I have them in the washer as we speak, but I don’t expect the blood to come out well.

Not a good way to bring me back into the fold of donating.

On the positive side, three people will benefit from this donation. 🙂

The Red Cross

I began donating blood almost four years ago when I was asked to organize a blood drive for the Knights of Columbus. I donate virtually every 56 days. I was a bit longer this winter as I wasn’t feeling well on my day. But it has been consistent.

The Red Cross knows how to appeal to me. I received the following e-mail:

Dear Robert,

Thank you for giving blood with the American Red Cross on 4/24/2017. After first ensuring that local needs were met, your blood donation was sent to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, NJ to help a patient in need. Your donation is on its way to change lives!

Every day, patients receive blood for a variety of conditions including life-threatening illnesses, blood disorders and traumas. Your blood donations are critical to helping save patients’ lives.

You may be able to help more patients with fewer appointments by donating double red cells. Ask if you’re eligible to give a double red cell donation when you make your next appointment.

On behalf of the hospitals and patients we serve, thank you for being a Red Cross blood donor.


Mary O’Neill, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
American Red Cross

I like this. I like hearing how I have helped. It keeps me from losing interest. It caused me to go out and verify that I am scheduled for an appointment . . . on my birthday.

Keep up the good work!

And again, I look at my donation to the Red Cross as a way of contributing to my community. It’s something I can do all on my own. While I document it here, I don’t preach that everyone should do it. Lord knows, I abstained for decades for my reasons. Your business is your business.

Why I Donate to the Red Cross

Blood, whether physically present or just being talked about, used to get me so queasy, I would have to remove myself so as not to see or hear it.

At 48, I was asked to chair a blood drive for my Knights of Columbus council. I recall asking, “Do I have to donate?” While my brother Knights looked at each other quizzically, they assured me I did not.

I spent that summer learning about the Red Cross and lining up volunteers. On the day of the drive, I was just overwhelmed with the number of people who came out. Folks I did not know were lined up to give of themselves.

The drive rolled on and things went well. I was pleased with the progress. Then it dawned on me: all these good folks gave to others, I could do the same.

The Red Cross volunteer was so accommodating to my nervousness. I loathe needles. Yet, she was so gentle. In seven to 10 minutes, it was all over and not only had I lived through it, I felt mighty special.

Every 56 days I am on the calendar now. I so look forward to donating now. I carry my card proudly.

For me, knowing that my donation is helping three people is why I show up. I feel connected to my community when I participate.