Will You Please Give?

My mother gave birth to 12 children, but she got woozy at the sight of blood. I, fortunately, did not inherit her affinity to bloodletting.

Mind you, I’m not crazy about watching gory movies or those medical shows that put you up close in the operating room, but if you need a Band-Aid applied to a bleeding finger, I will assist.

I also happen to be a blood donor. I have O-negative blood. And you can thank me for sharing my precious commodity with you. I am not a person of considerable financial wealth, but I know the value of a unit of blood. You see, my blood type is the universal blood type. In other words, anyone can benefit from my blood in a crisis. The down side of being O-negative is that I can ONLY receive O-negative if I need blood. So I donate in hopes that others will too, and there will be plenty of the red stuff when I need it.

I am a member of the daily working world who takes the time to roll up my sleeve and give you something that cannot be valued in dollars and cents. That’s a good feeling knowing I have something others need and can use. That makes me and all other blood donors philanthropists in a unique kind of way. We just can’t write it off on our income tax.

On Monday, the annual Media Day blood drive will be held at WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling. For the first time in many years, there is no snow or frigid temperatures in the forecast for that day. There will be free parking, babysitting, food and drink and T-shirts. American Red Cross officials have assured me they have improved the procedures and the wait will be bearable.

If you’ve never donated blood and you are a reasonably healthy person who meets the donor criteria, I urge — no implore — you to give it a try. There is an immense feeling of goodwill among donors and the technicians and all those involved in the process. Everyone at the blood drive knows firsthand the importance of collecting those units of blood and that’s enough to call one another family. And the “family” could use some more members.

The process is not very time consuming. The men and women who perform the process are experts at what they do. It is a process no more painful than receiving a flu shot. When it’s over, you can load up on some goodies at the canteen before you head home with the satisfaction of knowing you did something wonderful.

You can even pre-register online at the American Red Cross website. You can download an app on your cellphone which even lets you track your blood. I learned that my last donation went to help a sick child at a children’s hospital.

If you are already planning to attend the Media Day blood drive on Monday, thank you. If you haven’t made up your mind, consider taking an ordinary Monday in January and making it a very special day for someone else. I’ll see you there.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.