On June 27th 1956, my brother Michael was born.
On June 27th 1956, my brother Michael died due to complications during childbirth.
On June 27th 1956, after 36 hours of hard labour and severe blood loss, my mother almost died too.
In fact, my mother was losing so much blood that it took more pints of blood than the hospital had on hand to keep her alive. After depleting the hospital’s supply, three health-care professionals in the operating room at the time stepped up and donated blood on the spot. Her own physician donated blood WHILE he worked to repair the extensive damage.
My mother survived as a direct result of those individuals who donate blood. Giving selflessly of themselves, they gave my Mother the gift of life!.
After recovering from the loss of her first-born son and her own near-death experience, my mother sought to repay the gift of life that had been bestowed upon her. She gave blood for 45 years, stopping finally when she turned 71, the maximum age for a donor. When we lived in Europe for two years in the early 70’s, she did what was to them, the unthinkable, and donated her blood without solicitation. By this, I mean, she donated without a specific need by a family member or friend, as was and is the custom in some parts of the world. She continued this pattern of walk-in generosity until finally, they opened a small clinic where others could follow her example. And so, she gave the gift of life to others.
Blood! We all have it to give but few of us actually do. Basic eligibility (in Canada) for donating blood is simple. You must be between the ages of 17 and 71, weigh at least 110 lbs and be in general good health. Only a small percentage of the healthy, adult population with basic eligibility go past intention to actually donate blood.
Why don’t more eligible people donate?
FEAR is the number one reason why people don’t donate blood. Fear of needles and/or fear of contracting some disease. Fear of needles is understandable and can be difficult to overcome. Fear of contracting a disease is simply a non-issue because Canadian Blood Services’ and America’s Blood Centers’ trained personnel use only new, sterile needles for each donation.
TIME is the second reason why people don’t donate. Did you know it only takes 1 hour to donate blood? The minimum interval between blood donations is 56 days. If you or a loved one needed blood, would fear or time constraints matter?
How many of you have a story similar to my mother’s or have heard of similar stories, where a friend or relative or a child on the news, received blood as part of a life-saving procedure in the hospital? Now… imagine that blood not being available! Imagine it running out!
My mother is alive today because she received a massive blood transfusion on June 27th 1956. Consequently, I was born and my children were born and some day their children will be born. What a beautiful cascade of life this is, made possible because generous people conquered their fear and overcame their time constraints to donate blood. Don’t wait until you need it, or your parent needs it, or your best friend, or your neighbour needs it.
Find a blood donor clinic in your area! Resolve today to GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!