My 50th blood donation: brightness on a dark day

canadian-blood-servicesYesterday, before the tragic events in Boston, I donated blood for the 50th time: 50 donations in 50 years.

The experience always gives me a lift. Attached to the machine, I look around and see human beings helping other human beings, not because there’s something in it for them, but because they want to help make life just a bit easier for someone else. Maybe even save a life. They get nothing (at least nothing physical) for themselves in return. In Canada we don’t get paid for blood donations, so every person donates for selfless reasons.

Twice in my life I sat at the bedside of friends receiving blood transfusions as part of their cancer treatment. I watched the blood of a selfless donor infuse my friends with renewed vigour. And I wrote previously in my post “The Gift of Life” about the night of my daughter’s birth.

I became a blood donor in my teens, long before I ever dreamed I would have young friends with cancer or give birth to children, and I am even more passionate about it now that I have witnessed needs fulfilled.

How disheartening, then, to watch the explosions of Boston unfold just hours later. The flip side. Humanity harming humanity for selfish reasons. But, the perpetrators, whoever they were, are small in number. The rest of us, the billions of the rest of us, overwhelm them with our help, support and healing.

Such stark evil only serves to highlight the brilliant good that exists in the world.

I give blood because I’m blessed with good health that I wish for others. I do it because it is what I would want others to do for me if I were in need, so it embodies the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If you’re able, consider a blood donation.

Canadian Blood Services

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6 thoughts on “My 50th blood donation: brightness on a dark day

  1. Jennifer

    Congratulations!! Arlene, of all the very good things you do for others, donating your precious life-sustaining blood is among the most important.

    I truly hope that blood donations remain a gift rather than become a commodity.

  2. Chris

    I too used to give blood, back in the day when it was under to auspices of the Red Cross. And you’re absolutely right – it does feel good. Then for some reason, I let it lapse for a couple of years. When I finally got my act together to go back to give again, imagine my horror to be informed they didn’t want my blood, because I was too old. But its very reassuring to know that there are those out there younger than myself who are still able and willing to help heal the injured. Good on’ya! The world needs you all.


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