Day 328. Patients Don’t Need Your Donation, You Need to Donate

Sunday, January 15, 2012

At my old job, as a donor recruiter at a blood center, I had a secret. See, I would speak to groups all the time, trying to convince them to donate blood, but it didn’t really matter. I would try to motivate someone to go from hearing a talk about blood donation, to gathering the courage and expense of time to donate blood. I would talk to large groups and small groups, but really I was trying to motivate individuals. The secret I carried was that it really didn’t matter if the individual I was trying to motivate donated or not, the patient didn’t need their donation. The need for blood for that particular month was going to be met, whether that individual donated or not. The patients that their blood went to would mostly likely get blood from someone else if that person didn’t donate. Yes, it’s true that if many donors felt that way and decided not to donate then there would be big problems, but on an individual level, it still holds true.

However, I occasionally liked to tell them, that even though what I just wrote about is true, if you don’t donate, then you’ve missed out on the opportunity to donate.

I really believe that. Because, by donating, they are saving someone’s life, and that is a pretty amazing thing. If they don’t donate, then they’ve missed out. The patient doesn’t need your donation, someone else will step up, but maybe you need to make the donation. Maybe that’s cheesy, I don’t know, but I see it played out in my life.

This morning Michelle and I volunteered with our church at Convoy of Hope. You’ve probably heard me mention it before, it’s one of my favorite organizations out there, and I am friends with people who work there. We had to get up early on a Saturday, or as I now call Saturdays, every days. They have a giant warehouse, and we filled a portion of it with a lot of people. Michelle, her sister Jenn, and Jenn’s new boyfriend (ooooh) Zach, got put into the large group. Basically, our job was an assembly line. There was a guy who opened a giant bag of beans and poured them into a box, someone else took scoops from there and poured them into a funnel, which went to a bag, where someone else then twisted the bag, handed it to the next person who sealed it, then they passed it to the last person who put eight bags in a box, taped them up and put them on a palette. I was the last person, and I tried to compete with the high school girls in the assembly line next to us to put the last box in the row on our shared palette. Frickin’ Madison beat me every single time, and I was sincerely trying.

As we were walking out, we took our hair nets off and Michelle and I talked. Surely, there is machinery that can do the process I just described above. I don’t even think the machinery would be that complicated. They don’t need volunteers. Yet, if they had machinery to do it, then I wouldn’t have had the chance to do it, and the hundreds of others wouldn’t have had the chance to do it.

I think there is something meaningful in that.

I spent the last year as the receiver of goodwill. It took some adjusting, and was a learning experience. On this day, it was nice to be the one giving to someone else. Somehow that shift changes your perception of yourself. I’m not claiming some big moment realized, but the act of doing something for someone else somehow shifts, somehow elevates something inside of people.

I don’t know why it is, but I know it to be true.


1 Comment

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One response to “Day 328. Patients Don’t Need Your Donation, You Need to Donate

  1. Strangely enough, this is the first year I’ve been able to donate blood since college (and since having children) and am happy to be back at it. 🙂 And even stranger than that, I participated in a food packing charity event on MLK day that sounds very similar to what you were doing — ours was Kids Against Hunger (Project Guatemala). They even gave us a magnet with a website address so we could follow where our food went once it was shipped. We’re not leading parallel lives, now are we??? Moo-hoo, ha-ha. 😉

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