By Raima Larter
One day in college I came across a group of people in the student union. Some were lying on stretchers, their arms hooked up to IVs, while others sat drinking cola and juice. I asked what was going on and learned I had stumbled upon a Red Cross blood drive.
I wanted to help so got in line, filled out the questionnaire, and was soon stretched out with a needle in my arm. I chatted with the boy on the nearby gurney, but he quickly finished donating his pint, got up and headed to the cola and juice table.
Technicians frowned at the plastic bag attached to my arm, as one person after another took up the spot on the neighboring gurney. Blood trickled from my collapsing vein for over an hour. Eventually the technicians said I’d given all I could and let me go.
I felt sick for about two months after that. I tried again a couple times to give blood, but always with the same poor result. Eventually, a doctor told me to stop, that I hovered on the verge of anemia and couldn’t spare the blood I wanted to give. Years later, despite my own failed attempts at donating blood, I actually benefitted from the generosity of others when I needed a transfusion during emergency surgery.
I now have to content myself with giving money instead of blood to the Red Cross, wishing I could do more. I am forever grateful to those who help – in whatever way they can. Please donate to the Red Cross.
Raima Larter is a writer and scientist from Arlington, Virginia. She most recently worked as a science writer for the National Science Foundation, a federal agency in Washington, DC, a position she accepted after a couple of decades as a professor of chemistry in Indiana. She is currently working as a freelance writer.
This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.
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