A few Saturdays a year, I’ll drive to Round Rock to donate platelets—or cells in the blood that attach themselves to damaged blood vessels, causing clotting—and plasma, the liquid part of our blood that serves many functions, including carrying vital minerals throughout the bloodstream.
Still awake? Good.
Usually there’s more medical professionals volunteering at the blood center than there are people giving blood while I’m there—the turnout is almost as small as a fan club meeting of my readers might be.
I’m not sure why I started donating, but I think it was for the free cookies you get afterward. Seriously. Reward me with cookies, and I’ll build you a house.
But as I went to give my platelets and plasma today, there were noticeably more people giving blood, likely as a result of Hurricane Harvey devastating our fellow Texans to the east in Houston and the subsequent need for blood, platelets and plasma.
Apparently the donation center had made some urgent pleas for donors to step up, and some did. Bravo, y’all.
As I was getting hooked up to the machine that would do all the complicated stuff with my blood, I asked one of the staffers what he thought about this sudden turnout.
He said it was good to see, but many of the donors might not be back once they donate today. He said there’s a big turnout during tragic events—but otherwise the center is usually needing more donations—and if people regularly donated, there would be fewer pleas for donors during emergencies.
The need for donors will continue long after Houston begins to rebuild and long after most people outside Texas forget about Hurricane Harvey. The storm has made me feel helpless—and guilty that Austin was largely spared—but giving blood is a free, easy way to help not just folks in Houston, but in other places, too. If you want to help storm victims but aren’t sure what to do, or if you have limited resources, consider donating blood by setting up an appointment at a local blood center.
And don’t forget to grab some free cookies on the way out.
More hurricane stuff: