Every now and then, a blood donor shares their donation journey with us, including their reasons or motivation for donating. Local donor Flannery Mays shared her donation journey with Red Cross volunteer Luca Giusti. We’re pleased to share her words here.
What motivated you to make your first donation?
“I was 16 years old when the first Red Cross Blood Drive came to my school. I learned that I was O-, the universal donor. I don’t remember if Red Cross folks or my health teacher taught us about blood types, but someone explained what it meant for me especially as an O- donor. I wanted to help people and it was pretty easy: You lie down for 15-20 minutes, squeeze a ball, eat some snacks then you’re done! At the time as well they had a “pint for a pint,” a pint of blood for a pint of Baskin Robbins ice cream. While I was giving more for the greater good, I’d be lying if my 16-year old self really wanted some Oreo ice cream, too!
Now in my early 30s, I care less about any perks, though I still enjoy the snacks and apple juice afterwards. It’s more about a very concrete, real action I can take to help me. I tell my friends that I donate, let folks know on social media, and even got my partner to donate blood for the first time in 2022. I know a lot of folks don’t like needles, and while that’s an issue for me, I choose to focus on the ball I’m squeezing, the good I’m doing, and the little treats after, a small reminder of the bigger gift I am privileged to give to someone.