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Why Donating Blood is a Priority for Our Family

Vicki's Story

My first time donating blood was in March of 1999. I was a junior at Katy High School and a member of the health professions program offered through my school district's career center. A key part of the program was the opportunity to shadow doctors and nurses in a hospital and observe first hand the selfless work they do day in and day out. My goal was to become a doctor one day {who knew I would end up in human resources instead?!} so I loved having the opportunity to stand side by side with medical professionals as they saved lives. 

One day that spring, the hospital hosted a blood drive with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. One of the conference rooms of the hospital had been converted for the event and someone mentioned to me that the blood drive still needed volunteers. Having grown up with my mother regularly donating blood through her employer over the years, the concept was not only familiar to me but it seemed like a no brainer. The hospital employee who told me about the blood drive that afternoon gave me several recent examples of patients in that hospital who benefitted from blood donations and I was sold, practically rolling up my sleeve before she finished sharing her stories with me.

I was just an ordinary high school kid who listened to the Goo Goo Dolls and Savage Garden and watched taped episodes of Friends and ER on the VCR in my room like a lot of kids at that time. I hadn't experienced any real tragedies in my life such as a friend or family member having a terminal illness or being involved in a serious accident. At the time, I didn't even know anyone who had benefitted from a blood donation in the past. But I was raised with the belief that you try and pay it forward for others in life when you can and at that moment in 1999, donating blood just seemed like the right thing to do.

Over the years, I kept it up. In my first job out of college, I organized small blood drives at my office through Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and would recruit friends and family to come and donate if we were ever short on donors. Then as I transitioned into corporate America, I was always pleased to work for companies who sponsored their own large blood drives so I could easily participate.

My devotion to donating blood became even stronger when I became a mom 6 years ago. I had a pretty smooth delivery and delivered a very healthy little boy who is {knock on wood} still healthy as can be so it wasn't as though either of us required a blood or plasma transfusion. However, just the thought of him or any of my kids needing a transfusion catches my breath and gives me a lump in my throat when I consider the fact that those life saving donations are 100% sourced from volunteers. There is no substitute for human blood. Period. It must be voluntarily donated by one person and given to another and each time you donate you have the opportunity to save up to 3 lives.

As you can imagine, I was so proud when I had the recent opportunity to take my 17 year old bonus daughter, Madeline to donate blood for the first time. I pre-coordinated everything with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center beforehand so she could have an amazing first time donor experience and boy, did she ever! The staff at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center's headquarters location near the medical center were fantastic and made us both feel very comfortable and at ease that day, even in the midst of a global pandemic. We were fortunate enough to be able to go on a behind the scenes tour of the blood center including their state of the art operations center and storage facility and hear all about the tireless work that goes on daily to save the lives of residents of the Gulf Coast.  It was a great day.

Madeline's Story

My reason to donate is very personal, as my best friend has an autoimmune disease and has received several medical therapies over the past few years. While I know that my donation did not benefit her directly, I know that I helped to save the life of someone else's best friend or family member which means a lot to me. It scares me to think about how she might not get the medical treatment and therapies she needs without the donations of volunteers.

Thanks to the awesome staff at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, my first time donating blood was a great experience. Sure, I was a little bit nervous going in since I don't like needles {does anyone?} but the staff made me feel right at home. I was resting comfortably with my feet up in the donor chair and 3 bags of snacks before my donation even started! The woman who got me started explained everything in simple detail and answered all of my questions. As it turns out, I barely had enough time to pin a few pins on Pinterest on my phone before I was done and it was time for even more snacks.  Plus I received a really awesome t-shirt, face mask and other cool swag!

Our Story

While we initially started donating blood for different reasons, both Madeline and I are Committed for Life. It is such an important thing to do and you never know when you or someone you love is going to need a lifesaving transfusion of some sort. Did you know that 1 in 7 people will need blood at some point in their lifetime, but only 1 in 20 eligible donors will donate? That's only 5%! Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center needs 1,000 donations per day to keep up with demand in our community and since the beginning of COVID, keeping up with demand has been a real challenge. So don't let the fear of needles, time commitment or COVID concerns deter you from the lifesaving gift of donating blood. It is totally worth it and we challenge you to make it a family affair like we've done!

Posted on in Committed Hearts
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