When my Gram was alive, she helped coordinate the Red Cross Bloodmobile that came to Castlewood.
I can remember when I was young she would sit on the phone and call people for appointments to donate blood every time the bloodmobile would make the loop through town.
Donating blood has always been a tradition in our family. You had just better have a darn good reason not to donate. She expected it of us.
When I turned 16, I helped our chapter of the National Honor Society coordinate the annual NHS blood drive. My high school best friend and I left town at 5 in the morning, which was an unreasonable time for this girl, to meet the Krispy Kreme truck so we had the most amazing canteen snacks…dedication! I had such a good role model before me. Plus, we were in high school and silly things like that are what life was about.
I also started giving blood at these blood drives in high school. After I gave blood a few times, I got a form letter in the mail that they couldn’t use my blood because there was something wrong with it. Upon talking with my family doctor, they said it usually just means the donor was sick shortly after giving blood and they detected that.
At any rate, I was on the black list for many years. I used it as a cop out to not take the time to reinstate myself and start giving again.
When my gram got sick just before she died, she required quite a few blood transfusions. I think it was payback for all the hard work she did promoting this worthy cause. Her work with the Red Cross came full circle.
After my gram passed away, I decided it was time that I explore the process of being reinstated as a donor. This was no easy task, I had to give quite a few vials for them to run tests on my blood and make sure it was safe.
After a few month long process, I was able to sit in that chair and roll that red ball in my hand again.
I recently took a break from donation when my son was born and while I was nursing. Last night was the first time I’ve given blood since before I was pregnant and I’m always reminded of my gram when I walk into the community center and see all those cots set up.
I was in and out of the blood drive in just over 30 minutes. It was like a Red Cross sanctioned social media scrolling event! It was such a small part of my day but it was lovely laying there thinking about Gram and that one facet of her beautiful legacy she left. We just passed five years without her and I just love little reminders of her in my life.