Why I give blood

My relationship with blood donation changed the day my wife gave birth to our third child. In the hours after we welcomed our son into the world, she received 30 units of blood — roughly three times the amount of blood running through the average adult.

Blood donors helped save my wife’s life. I am so grateful for the blood donors who gave to save the life of my wife — and the others who need life-saving blood transfusions. That’s why I give.

Donating is painless

Nearly all of my donations have been through LifeServe Blood Center drives hosted by Grinnell Mutual. The donation process is painless. I reserve a time with LifeServe on their website days — even months! — in advance.

After checking in on donor day, I review the disclaimers, take a short questionnaire, and a LifeServe worker checks my blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in our blood. (I had to Google that one.)

Then it’s time to give. I’m not squeamish — as a parent, I’ve cleaned up more than my share of cuts, scrapes, puke, and, poopsplosions. But I’ve still not quite gotten used to the needle going into my arm to begin the donation. This is the moment when I look away and think about all the people who gave to save my wife’s life — and the three lives my blood will save.

For me, the actual act of donation takes less than five minutes — I guess I’m a fast bleeder? For others, it takes a little longer. From check-in to back at my desk is less than an hour, and I don’t have to use vacation time to do it because Grinnell Mutual supports employees like me giving back.

Afterwards, I sample more than my share of Francene’s homemade cookies. (Francene is a retiree who has been volunteering at our company blood drives for over a decade and I make a point of trying each kind of cookie.) Plus, I can get a credit for our company store or a movie ticket to The Strand, the city of Grinnell’s local movie theatre.

Give blood

Later this year — nearly six years after my life changed because of blood donors — I will give my 30th pint. And I’ll continue to give in honor of my wife, my family, and the donors who kept us together.

I hope you will consider donating, too. Learn more about donor eligibility and find a blood donation site near you.