A slight departure from my usual posts about food, clothing, and cocktails…
There are so many aspects I love about working for my company (Dealer.com), but one thing I love the most is how easy it is to get involved and give back in many different ways. For example, a few months back employees could sign up to become a bone marrow donor. I was hesitant (especially after seeing the movie Seven Pounds), but after an employee who donated explained the real process I signed up! I haven’t been asked to be a Match, but I’m ready when the e-mail comes.
Bone Marrow donation is a bit intense, but we also do company blood drives. As someone who grew up watching family members suffer with illnesses and cancers, and later on pass, I find blood donations important, though I won’t pretend I’ve donated every 56 days without fail.
I don’t entirely have rose colored glasses for the process. For starters, I do admit to being vocal in the past about my distaste for the way the American Red Cross reaches out to get people to donate. Having 3-5 calls a week for a month or two straight telling you to donate can get frustrating. Also, it’s impossible to get off these call lists.
Yes, I understand a call is painless, but it can be intrusive and I’ve had one caller be downright rude to me, even after I explained that I had been sick with bronchitis for a month and could barely walk to class. However, after this last donation I learned why they constantly called me, and I now feel a strong sense to donate as often as possible, despite possible grating calls.
In high school you probably learned about blood types. I’m not a universal donor, but with A+ blood I do have the second most common blood type, which is why it’s sought after . I even learned that A+ types are great for platelet donations, so I’ll start doing those as well.
While I do have common blood I also have a few others things that make my blood a hot commodity, which I didn’t realize until last week.
My blood is also CMV-. After a bit of research I learned that CMV is a flu-like strain that many people have in their blood. It’s not bad, per say, but people with weakened systems (like cancer patients, those with HIV/AIDs, and babies who have not fully developed a strong immune system) need to get blood from CMV- donors (note: it is possible to get the CMV strain at any point in your life).
I’m also considered a “rare donor”, and, as suspected, it’s because I’m black. Sickle cell anemia is more common for people of color and it requires regular transfusions. If I were to guess I imagine that is where my blood goes.
I learned a lot about my body at this last blood drive and truly look forward to offering up an arm when needed, despite the fact that have super tiny veins that like to move around and I bleed real’ slow (yup, someone lapped me!)
I definitely encourage everyone to not only donate but also ask about your blood. Who knows, you may be the ideal candidate to help people are very much in need.