One time, I ran away from my twin brother during recess after a student accidentally smashed a ball into his face during a rousing round of kickball, which knocked his front tooth out. My second grade self couldn’t stomach the sight of his bloodied face. I didn’t even bother to help him. I still regret that.
During sixth grade, I became so pale from the sight of my own measly paper cut that my teacher asked if I wanted to go to the nurse.
I still tremble during the occasional blood test needed and clench my eyes shut as the phlebotomist tries to draw blood from the tiniest veins they have ever seen.
(I hope this isn’t making you squeamish.)
While it may be difficult to overcome my squeamishness, I realized this week that I should make a conscious choice to face it head on. On Monday, after I heard about the Boston Marathon bombings, I became so heartsick that I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork. Only two days later, I learned of the fertilizer plant explosion in West Texas. Each event had a death toll, with many more in critical condition. How do we help to fill the black void of hurting and sadness?
This week, one of my good friends at Bryn Mawr College who is from Boston reached out to ask if I would be interested in donating blood with her. For as long as I can remember, my squeamishness has prevented me from ever giving blood donation a passing thought. I remember when I was a Junior in Girl Scouts—my troop volunteered at a blood drive, and I chose to help out in the daycare while other girls handed out cookies and juice to woozy donors because I was so scared to even see the bags of blood.
While I still may be as squeamish as ever, I have come to realize that my personal fear needs to be relinquished in order to give others hope. A contribution to a blood bank could save a life. Think of the marathon runners who finished their race in Boston, only to rush to the nearest hospital to donate blood after the bombs went off. Building solidarity in the wake of tragedy pumps healing love, and the power to overcome through our veins.
Help me to keep my promise of giving blood. There’s no turning back now. I’ll report back here to let you know how it goes! Please consider visiting www.redcross.org to see if you meet blood donation eligibility requirements. Depending on where you live, your donation likely will not aid those who have been affected in Boston and West this week, but someone out there will be truly thankful. Females must be 17 years old in most states or 16 years old in some states with parental consent. If you are too young to donate blood, it is something to consider for the future!
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