I gave sporadically over the years, usually when the clinic came to school or to a mall near my office. Sometimes they’d call and ask me to come down. Despite my intense hatred of needles, it was always a pretty easy thing to do.
Soon after moving to
Leaving the company was difficult not because of the work - which I grew to no longer enjoy - or the leadership - which was morally bankrupt - but because I didn't get to hang for a couple of hours every week with these incredible people.
Still, I kept going when I joined my new firm. That's the cool thing about plasma: you can give weekly (vs. every eight weeks for whole blood.) I also love the cookies they have for donors – chocolate whippets, just like when I was a kid – so it’s pretty much a no-brainer for me to go down and shnarf a few. They even have oatmeal and soup – though, thankfully, not together.
Last night, I was privileged to attend a donor recognition night with my wife. I got a certificate - nice, but completely unnecessary - and was able to reconfirm why this thing matters so much to me:
- I really like the cookies.
- It’s life-affirming to be around the same caring, devoted people week after week. Donors, nurses, staff and volunteers at the clinic are likely some of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. That’s gold for a writer like me.
- Fear of needles is not a big enough excuse to stay away. If I ever get sick, I doubt I’d refuse treatment because I hate being jabbed.
- Barely 3.5% of Canadians who are eligible to donate actually do. If we don’t look out for folks around us who are in need, who will? Fear of an empty blood bank frightens me beyond belief.
- Community was an important part of my upbringing, and I want it to be an important part of my children's as well. This is one way to show them that sometimes you do things not because you expect something back, but because it’s good for others.
- I still really like the cookies. Though truth be told, I'd go even if they didn't stuff me silly.
As in past years, a recipient was asked to speak. Her name is
Her speech is here. Please read it, then think about whether you’d like to come on down, shnarf some cookies, meet some cool people and do something nice for someone you’ve never met. If you're in London, pop by first thing any Friday morning and say hi. I'll save you a cookie.