Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another crisis and another outpouring of support

I have been in blood banking going on 20 years now. I love my job. I love the fact that I am making a difference each day.
But when a crisis happens in our community, it is the outpouring of blood donors to support those victims that gets me through the crisis.
I first witnessed this years ago during the raid on the Branch Davidian compound here close to Waco. When I saw on TV the officers being shot at I immediately called our blood center to see how many units of blood we were shipping to the hospital. And as the scheduling coordinator for staff, I knew my next thing was to mobilize all our collection staff to have them come in on that Sunday to help collect blood for the emergency.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the donor center before the doors were even open and saw over 100 people there. They continued coming until the compound burned down, even though they were aware that no one was using blood after the first initial strike.
I saw this happen again and again. The Oklahoma City bombing, when we went to war during Bush, Sr. presidency, after a Class 5 tornado and of course when the Twin Towers were struck.
On Thursday, when the largest military base, Ft. Hood, that is just 45 minutes from here, was attacked by an armed gunman I saw it happen again.
Thursday evening we saw about 120 donors. And again yesterday we saw over 100. We sent out 190 units in the first day. Every one of our blood drives all over our territory are seeing an increase in blood donors. So much so that at this time we are asking folks to wait a couple of weeks to donate more.
Why do these donors come out during these tragedies? I mean, if you look at the big picture, there is a tragedy happening somewhere every minute. Someone needs blood every 3 seconds. It could be a surgery patient, a cancer patient, an accident victim. And the truth of the matter for those big tragedies is that if someone hadn't donated blood BEFORE it happened, there wouldn't be blood to save those lives WHEN it happens.
Here is my thought (and you know I have lots of thoughts!): People need to do something PHYSICAL when a tragedy happens. They can pray, they can cry, they can wring their hands, but for a healing to occur in a community, they have to do something that comes directly from them. Like donating food for a food shortage, donating blood during this time makes them feel a part of them has actually become a part of the victims. And that they have really made a difference.
If you ever witness one of these type blood drives (and I pray that you don't!) you will see the emotions on the faces of the donors. And if you stuck around after the doors close, you will see the emotions on the faces of the staff. And it is at that time a healing begins. Emotional wounds are healed during a blood drive.
The one thing that each blood donation center would like to be able to get across to donors is that they can be a part of a healing everyday. Those patients in the hospital needing lifesaving blood may not have been the victim of a gun welding insane man, but they are victims none the less. Victims of illness, victims of accidents, victims of violence.
And they need you, everyday. When you donate blood, try to imagine your neighbor, your child, your spouse as the one needing that donation. Because you never know who is the face on that blood bag.
As the holidays approach, donations drop. And after an outpouring of support like we have just seen, during the weeks after donations drop.
We need donors. Just not today, but everyday. We need you in the weeks to come.
Give blood. Often. You can make such a difference. You can be a part of healing, a part of something great!


Mary C said...

Donna - you put that so well. And I think you are right about people feel like they need to 'do something' when a crisis hits. I also think that in our day to day lives we 'forget' that there are others whose lives are shattered by some tragedy on a smaller scale - sort of like having on blinders and just seeing our little world. I'm thankful for people like you who work to prepare for the tragedy before it happens.

Sakkeer said...

I am 35 year old graduate. I am only one son of my parents. My father was a business man, he lost big money in his business and Bankrupt in 1986, that time I was in high school. Bank officials harrased him very cruely , they took legal steps to my father and post aution sale for our house and he suffered mental agony and died of heart attack on 1990. After my father death my mother faced many obstacles, now she is an arthritis patient, she cant walk with out anyones help. The last 19 years I have been fighting legally with bank, I lost all my hard earned money, now I am big zero and struggling for my daily needs. Now they are going to sale my house by auction for US$ 60,000.00. I don’t know where I can go with my mother? I am asking only one dollar per person, that the cost of your bed coffee or cigar (you can donate as much as you can). My paypal id is or use the below link
By Sakki

Carolyn NC said...

Awesome post, Donna!

Donna said...

Sakkeer would be the reason I put word verification back on my comment section if anyone is questioning. Thanks.

5 Foot Runt said...

Thank you for sharing that with us. You know the blood is the essence of life and it amazes me everytime, knowing how precious it is people still choose to give it. I learned when my mom was sick her body stopped making blood and it was someone's gift that helped her make it through. Without blood you die, and it's more then words can express.

Karan said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with that Donna. Hope some of those one-off donors become regulars. :0)