Family Traditions: Donating Blood

I know this is kind of a random topic, but go with it.

This past weekend, the family loaded up in Josh’s truck and headed south to Carter Blood Care.  We both were getting calls saying they were running low on donations, and wanted to know when we could come in.  Well, since I stay at home with Emma, it wasn’t really an option to go during the week.  Sure, I could have gotten a sitter or had a friend watch her, but my underlying plan was to get Josh to go, too.

Ever since we started dating, back in 2002, we had this ritual of donating blood together.  I’m sure it sounds cheesy, but I’ve been doing it since I was 18, so I wanted to keep that tradition going.  I always saw my dad donate, and I told myself I would do it when I was 18, even though I don’t really care for needles.  I used to be skittish, but it’s fun when Josh and I go together, and I like that it has become our ‘thing’ as a couple.  I know it’s not typical…but as you can see from the name of my blog, I’m not typical.

save 3 lives

My reason for blogging about this is two-fold: 1) to get people over their fear of needles and donate so you can SAVE up to 3 LIVES and 2) to set an example for Emma.  I remember being bummed that I couldn’t donate while pregnant, for obvious reasons, but couldn’t wait to start back up as soon as I could.  We went in when she was 6 weeks old, since that was the earliest time after giving birth, and was able to donate even while nursing-score buddy!  She had a good time hanging out with Josh while I got drained, so it’s nothing new for her.

Emma reading books while we wait

That’s how we usually do it, I go first because I’m faster doing Whole Blood, and Josh goes second because he takes longer doing Double Red (he’s O+).  This time we had a competition on who had higher iron and the winner was me!  Awe yeah, I was super stoked that I beat him this go ’round.  Trust me, I’ve come a long way in the iron department; I can remember crossing my fingers and praying that my iron wasn’t too low, and was totally bummed when I got turned away (on several attempts).  I wanted them to take my blood, but I wasn’t eating foods high in iron to make the cut.  I was always anemic in high school, and hated going to get my levels checked every 3 months (thanks Celiac Disease).  But now that we’re Paleo, I don’t even flinch when they prick me to get my iron count.  Hooray for success!

donating whole red blood

While we were waiting on Josh, I had a guy tell me he thought it was a great thing, showing Emma about donating blood, and being there together as a family.  I told him she said she wants to donate blood when she turns 18 as well (she totally said that!).  He said you can actually start at 16 with a parent’s consent-woo to the hoo!  Emma doesn’t know it yet, but we both consent, and we will both take her her first time.  I know I’m weird, but it’s the little things in life for me.

Josh donating double red blood

Here are the eligibility requirements in case you’re interested:

Double Red Cell Donors –

If you are male, you must:

  • Be healthy
  • Be at least 17 years old in most states
  • Be at least 5’1″
  • Weigh at least 130 lbs. Please note higher requirements may apply in certain cases. Check with your donor center to confirm.
If you are female, you must:

  • Be healthy
  • Be at least 17 years old in most states
  • Be at least 5’5″
  • Weigh at least 150 lbs. Please note higher requirements may apply in certain cases. Check with your donor center to confirm.

I figure it’s half an hour out of my day, every three months, to save a few lives.  No biggie.  It has now become a game to see how fast we can both pump, and Josh was so proud of himself when he beat that location’s record the last time.  See, donating blood can be a fun, family-friendly event, right?  Okay, maybe not.

keep calm and donate blood

But, I do want to challenge you.  If you have ever remotely given a thought about donating blood, go out there and try it.  I’ve never had a problem in all my years, and to this day I still look away when they stick me.  I’m getting braver, though.  I know it’s not for everyone, though I admit I did the plasma thing in college…apparently that goes towards making makeup, so just I’ll stick (har har) to saving lives and donate my blood.

Note: Photos from here and here.

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4 thoughts on “Family Traditions: Donating Blood

  1. What a great tradition! Kevin donates blood as often as he can (he was black-listed for a while becasue of one of the provinces in China he visited for work). I don’t meet all the requirements (weight), but I would totally donate if I could (and I did in college; they fudged the rules so I could until I passed out too many times and they wouldn’t let me anymore).

    Have you heard about donating in someone’s name? A close friend of ours had cancer and needed lots of blood, Kevin donated in his name. For each pint that was donated in his name, our friend got a free one (you don’t even have to be the same blood type)! It’s such a cool program that we’re trying to get something set up at our church where we can have a database of those in need of pints because blood is expensive!!

  2. Ugh. I’m pretty sure WordPress ate my comment, so here we go again. :)

    I think that is a wonderful tradition to have and such a great virtue to instill in Emma! Kevin donates on a regular basis (except for when he was blacklisted becasue of a province in China he visited for work). I would donate, but I don’t meet all the requirements (they fudged the rules for me in college and I passed out every time until they wouldn’t let me anymore).

    Have you heard about donating in someone’s name? A close friend of ours had lymphoma and needed lots of blood during his treatment. We were able to donate in his name and for every pint donated, he recieved a free one (apparently a pint of blood is quite expensive). You don’t even have to be the same blood type. It’s such a cool program that we’re trying to get a database set up in our church so we can donate to a person every time, even if we don’t personally know anyone in need.

    • Ha! The other comment did come up ;)

      I’m hoping she will see us do it and want to continue the family tradition for the next generation. It’s never too early to start with those lil ones!

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