My dad has the blood of a super hero.
As long as I can remember, the folks at the Red Cross have been calling on my father as though he moonlights as Superman, begging him for the alien super blood that pumps mightily from his iron-loaded, easytostick, O-neg-and-pure-enough-for-newborn-babies veins. And as long as I can remember, he has donated blood every time he’s eligible.
Favorite is also a big time blood donor. He has buddies at the Red Cross too, and pins celebrating his donor achievements, and t-shirts and street cred and all that jazz. Unlike me, Favorite never sounds annoyed when the recruiter lady calls in the middle of dinner – he cheerfully schedules an appointment.
And me? Well, iron and I are not the best of buddies, and four times out of five, I go to the Red Cross and have my finger pricked a couple times only to be sent home and encouraged to eat more spinach (or take and iron supplement. With orange juice, not milk, and not with caffeine, and drink some black strap molasses while I’m at it.) In case you’re worried, low hemoglobin numbers are pretty common in women, and I’m healthy, honest, and I eat tons of spinach. But I try. I do try.
Why? Because it’s important. Because only 5% of eligible Americans actually give blood. Because blood has to be used within 42 days of its donation, so they always need more. Because the average age of blood donors gets higher every year, which means young people don’t seem to think it’s as important as the generation that came before us. Because it could easily be you in need of a transfusion tomorrow, and you’d want someone to do it for you.
And because they have free donuts. Not even kidding.
Here’s my pitch. My dad, Favorite, and I all went to Haiti this year. Which means we’re all disqualified from donating blood for a year. Which I found out after testing in last week with a record high hemoglobin level. Which sucks.
I’m asking you to go give blood for me, because I can’t. Or for Favorite, because he can’t. Or for my dad, because he can’t. Or for Shannon Hannon, because today is her birthday and she goes to Haiti all the time.
Or for you, because you can. Because it’s important. Seriously important.
It only hurts a little. The folks at the Red Cross are incredibly nice. And if you like Cheez-its and coffee and raisins for lunch, it’s a free lunch. You’ll leave feeling brave, and tough, and a little bit like a super hero. You will be a little bit like a super hero. And somebody, somewhere, might just live because of you. Don’t tell me you have something better to do with your time.
I know some of you are afraid of needles, which is a completely valid and reasonable fear, so I’ll make a deal with you. I have a completely ridiculous, unreasonable fear of slugs. I’m not kidding. I hate them. I have been known to cry, to cross streets to avoid them, and to spend whole hiking trips examining the forest floor instead of looking for waterfalls. I hate them. The next sentence I’m going to type makes me feel completely sick to my stomach:
If 20 of you, just 20, post a comment to let me know you donated blood on my, or Fave’s, or dad’s behalf,
I will post a picture of myself holding a slug in the palm of my hand.
With my face in it so you know I’m not cheating. Because this is important. Even if it’s a silly incentive, it’s important.
If 100 of you do it, I’ll kiss the disgusting thing. Pinky swear. But if my lips go numb, I’m blaming you.
Go save the world.