I grew up in Brooklyn, New York in the mid 60’s-early 70’s. For much of that time we lived with my grandmother, who happened to be the school secretary at my elementary school. We used to walk to and from school together every day.
There were special days every year where the school was closed because the Red Cross would come and set up in the gymnasium so that people could come and donate blood. While I was happy that we got the days off, I never wanted to be there with her for the Blood Bank event because I thought blood was “icky”. My grandmother actually volunteered to run these events each year – this was her charity where she chose to devote her time.
Ironically, some 40 years later, long after she was gone, I developed a “blood cancer” of Mantle Cell Lymphoma. During the course of my treatment – I needed over 40 units of blood and platelet transfusions. I literally could have the blood of dozens of different people who were Type O Positive given to me. I often wonder who they were? They could be anyone and everyone. It seems ridiculous but I’ll be somewhere and look around and wonder if I have the blood of one of these random strangers in me.
These products saved my life – there is no doubt that without these transfusions, I would not have survived. I wish I could thank each person individually for giving me the gift of their blood so I could live. Was this a gift given to me to thank my grandmother for all those years of volunteering for the Blood Bank? My grandmother was my main caretaker in my earlier life, and even though she’s gone – I feel that she’s still looking out for me. On November 15thshe would’ve been 110 years old…
People need blood for all sorts of reasons – accidents, surgery, effects of chemotherapy, childbirth, etc. If you can – please try to donate blood. They will never take me of course, and you may not be eligible but why not try? It’s a lot easier to donate than it is to receive (trust me on that one), and you will literally be giving the gift of life. I am “living proof” of that fact. Below is a link to the Red Cross to learn more about why and how to donate blood.
In future blogs I will talk about the results of my blood work and clear up some of the mystery behind what kind of information it gives you regarding the state of your health. My blood work is everything to me. It literally dictates my future. I have it run often and I anxiously wait for the results. EVERY TIME.