Sometimes it’s okay to simply try

I feel like a success even though I failed at donating blood

Blood, as the slogan says, is in you to give.

And right now it’s needed. Canadian Blood Services (CBS) put out a request for donors this week, saying more than 22,000 are needed across the country.

So when I saw a friend who’s recently finished cancer treatments posted on Facebook how the two transfusions recently received helped increase her strength and her ability to tolerate the radiation, I had no issues signing myself up for a nearby mobile clinic.

READ MORE: ‘I’d rather be anywhere else’

Especially since I had also required two blood transfusions, in addition to several units of platelets, after my last surgery. I was eager to not only give, but give back.

With O-positive blood—the most popular type—pumping through my veins, CBS always welcomes my donation because it matches nearly 40 per cent of the population. O-negative, on the other hand, is the only universal donor, and when seconds count in a medical emergency, it’s given to patients whose blood types are unknown.

I arrived at the clinic right on time for my appointment, signed in, completed my pre-donation survey, and eagerly awaited my screening visit behind the privacy panels, the last step before being moved to the donation area.

Calling my number, I was ushered into a sheltered corner and we began checking off all the boxes to verify I matched their donor selection criteria. I learned that of my roughly five litres of blood, they were about to take a half-litre: several tubes and the actual donation.

READ MORE: Canada’s oldest blood donor says it’s all gain, no pain after decades of giving

However, it soon became apparent that a benign heart issue I was recently diagnosed with was going to prevent me from donating temporarily. After filling out a form granting CBS permission to contact my doctor to determine if donating was safe in the future, I was sent on my way without any juice or cookies and thanked for my time.

Then I was thanked again by a salesman in a skate shop. Having mentioned my failed attempt at donating, he took the time to thank me for at least trying and told me how he was alive today because of an organ transplant and blood transfusions.

And again by friends on social media and through text.

I hadn’t succeeded in my mission to donate blood and save a life, but for merely trying, people were going out of their way to thank me, which is something I don’t think happens enough in the world of adults.

Maybe the world would be a nicer place if we were all willing to show appreciation so freely to those we know and encounter.

Although I didn’t get to save a life this go-around, I’ll book another appointment at one of their upcoming mobile clinics as soon as CBS gets the all-clear from my doctor. On Sept. 24 and 28, Oct. 22, Nov. 19, CBS will be collecting donations at Tzeachten First Nation, and again on Oct. 8 and Nov. 11, at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre.

To learn more about donating blood, or Canadian Blood Services, please visit their website at blood.ca. To book your donation appointment, you can download their app—GiveBlood—or call 1-888-2-DONATE.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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