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.


  • aimee May 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I wish I could. Why is it the ones that really want to give can’t because of travel? Apparently, I might be a mad cow carrier (lived in England in the 80’s and 90’s) so I can’t give blood either. Wish I could I’d love to see you kiss a slug 🙂

    • girlofcardigan May 17, 2011 at 8:53 am

      I’ll count you toward the hundred anyhow, just based on desire and diligent blog commenting alone. 🙂 love!

  • Kellie May 17, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Jason and I are donating blood on Sunday as part of our church’s Beautiful Day. Jason is like your dad and hubby. He has o-neg blood and donates whenever there is a blood drive.
    I cannot believe you are going to hold a slug. I have been a witness to your fear for slugs since we were little. This is a very serious dare!

  • Judy McManus May 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    because… somewhere out there, someone gave blood so my daughter would live.. Thanks Karen for reminding us
    how important donating blood really is.

  • Jennifer Leeper May 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    When I lived in the states, I’d give blood whenever I could and loved getting the phone calls asking for donations. But now that I’ve lived in Thailand for almost 6 years, I’ll probably always be considered a disease carrier. 🙁 Oh and I tried to give in Thailand once but apparently it’s not common here because there were definitely some comments about the “crazy foreigner” as I walked out!

  • abby May 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I would love to help you out on this, but I reckon I can’t give blood either. I tried to in high school and then threw up. I wasn’t scared or anything, but I’m pretty sure my body did not want to participate. But because I think this is a really good idea and I like your post, I’m going to do a little research and find a place here in London and give it another try. You never know, my system might finally be up for it!

    • girlofcardigan May 24, 2011 at 8:56 am

      You are fantastic, and brave. If it makes you feel better, know that holding a slug will absolutely make me barf. Solidarity, sister!

  • Kim Robbie May 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Count me in! Because your post made me laugh at loud at work; because you convicted me for being delinquent about donating blood (I used to do it all the time); because I admire you and your dad (and am certain I would admire Favorite, but we’ve never met).

    • girlofcardigan May 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Yay! You guys are making my day over here!

  • Katherine May 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Chris and I donated today. HA! That’s two closer to a slug! But you’ll be pleased to know that your blog was our inspiration. Way to go lovely!

    • girlofcardigan May 24, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Aw, yay! I heart your faces. Though I question your enthusiasm about my future sluggy suffering. 😉

  • Liesl August 8, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I am going to give blood on Wednesday since I’ll already be over by Emmanuel for HC. Promise. I am a universal donor too and used to donate all the time (I swear I hold the record for fastest donation- 3 min. 30 seconds) but I found I was constantly catching whatever bug came by my way shortly after donating. So I stopped. But I’ll try this once more (and pray for no colds!!). For you. And Favorite.

    • girlofcardigan August 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      You’re a hero – I’ll pray for your cold defenses. 3:30 is completely, mind blowingly awesome.