Two Blood Donor Emojis, one of a woman giving blood and one of just the arm of someone donating blood, from

Why I Donate Blood

Folks who know me know I give blood, and do it as often as I’m allowed to. (That’s every 56 days, which means six or seven times a year.)

One morning the staff double-checked my stats and told me where my unit of blood was going: Straight to the hospital, where it would be used for a baby’s surgery. How can that not melt your heart?

What is your Favorite Cause?

When GeekWire selected me as their Geek of the Week, they asked about my favorite cause. That was an easy choice: “Blood donation. You donate a pint of blood and around an hour of your time, and you give a gift that’s priceless.

Lately a related mini-cause is the Blood Donor Emoji. As the sponsors explain:

There’s An Emoji For Just About Everything… Except A Blood Donor
Millions of individuals text emojis every minute of every day, to equal over a billion. Globally, 112.5 million blood donations are collected each year, according to World Health Organizations. We think it’s time those millions of donors get the recognition they deserve, starting with their own special emoji.

To put that another way: If social media outlets have an emoji for poop, there should be an emoji to encourage blood donation.

World Blood Donor Day

The World Health Organization promotes donation too. As they put it:

“Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.

Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters.”

The Shirt

Over the years I’ve received several shirts when donating. My favorite is the SuperHero shirt. I tend to wear it when I expect to be in the presence of other super heroes. That includes places like Comicon, Jet City Comic Show, a movie screening with super hero Amy Jo Johnson, and of course when I donate blood:

How About You?

When someone realizes that I count my donations in terms of gallons it sounds like a lot. However, that’s one pint at a time like everyone else. (Remember from school that there are 8 pints in a gallon.)

My first donation was the same as anyone’s first visit to a blood center or bloodmobile. It’s like taking your first step in the morning, followed by more steps during the day. Before you know it, those days, months, and years of individual steps add-up to miles.

Why do I keep coming back? Some of the best customer service around: Nice folks, a comfy couch, and at the end you get to have juice and cookies with a fellow super-hero or two. What’s your blood donation story?

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