My CauseI have been donating blood since I could, which around here is about 18. My mom would always donate when she could, and I would go along on some trips to the blood bank while she did it. I was very excited my first time, and very happy that I didn't pass out, unlike my classmates around me that were 'tough'. I still remember watching one tough guy faint while donating, while I happily pumped away.
I would donate every 56 days, about 4x a year. Soon, the gallon marks started piling up. When I hit my 5th gallon, it was a milestone for me, for I had done it fairly quickly. I even donated while at school, and found out that they mean it when they say 'no physical activity' for 24 hours - and that trying out for soccer 2 days after donating is not a good idea.
I never fainted while donating - if I ever had a reaction, it was afterwards, and usually it was because the phlebotomist had said something like 'Ooh, that doesn't look right' or 'Hmm, you're still bleeding a little!' afterwards. Great. Rile me up and worry me! That's usually what does it. I have fought off the reactions too, so I have never fainted.
My first trip to China was in 2008, and at that point, I was about 4 donations short of 10 gallons lifetime. Considering at that time I was 34, and had surpassed my mom's donation total awhile back, I thought I was in good shape. But going to China, then South Africa, then China again, then India, put the brakes on my rise to 10 gallons. The donation center defers people for 1 year who have gone to any of these places as a precaution against malaria, yellow fever, SARS, etc. I know some places that don't defer, but I don't donate there, so they don't have my records. In between all of these trips, I think I've gotten in 2 more donations, but this year blew all that away - each trip to China resets the clock. So I sit, hovering close to the 10 gallon mark.
People all have their causes. Some donate money to cancer, diabetes, heart disease research. Others donate time to animal shelters, or homeless shelters. This is my cause. I encourage anyone who reads this to also do so, it only takes 30-40 minutes, saves up to 3 lives, and is a good mini-checkup. If you don't like needles, I'll say this - neither do I, but it's for a great cause.