Saving lives this summer

Confession time: I have never donated blood.

Many of you know that I am a proud childhood cancer survivor, so you know it’s not stinginess that keeps me from baring a vein and donating a little O-positive. The fact of the matter is, no one wants the blood of a person who has had this much chemotherapy plus a bone marrow transplant.

But although I have never had the experience of being a blood donor, I’ve had plenty of experience on the other end of the equation – being a blood recipient.

During my time in the hospital battling leukemia, it took numerous weapons to fight off the disease. One of those weapons was more than 80 whole blood transfusions – not counting the many additional transfusions of platelets only.

Shoring up the blood of a person who has leukemia is no small task.

Without the giving hearts of blood donors, I’m sure my experience fighting cancer would have been quite different. It might not have had a happy ending.

Blood donations had a hand in saving my life, quite literally, and that’s why I believe in the missions of the American Red Cross and LifeSouth. For me, it’s personal.

People I never even met had a hand in giving me the full and happy life I have today. That’s a gift I can never match or repay.

In some ways, it also feels like a gift I can’t even pay forward. I can’t do my own part by becoming a blood donor.

What I can do is encourage all of you who are so inclined to consider this worthy way of helping those in need.

LifeSouth has planned a number of blood drives for the month of July in Franklin County. The first one is today at Sloss Lake from 2-10 p.m. While you celebrate freedom at the Jam, you can also celebrate the joy of helping someone who needs a life-saving gift, like a car accident victim or someone undergoing surgery – or maybe even a little girl with leukemia.

You can see all the dates and times for upcoming blood drives in our community calendar on page 3. I would be honored if you decided to take the opportunity to give.