BLOOD DONATION STREAK COULD NOT BE STOPPED BY COVID-19
by Dougger Anderson
In October of 1968, I had a huge incentive to donate my first pint of blood: PX privileges at the end of my first week of basic training in the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, KY. Three years later, I began my first real job in Santa Monica and found myself with some extra "time." Since I had moved to a city where I didn't know anybody, I used my extra "time" to read Time Magazine; pun intended.
In one of the first issues that I received, I read that only three percent of those qualified to donate blood did so. To alleviate a blood shortage at the time, America was accepting donations from "questionable" sources and purchasing blood from foreign countries. So, I decided to start donating my blood, formed a company "blood bank," and recruited others to donate their blood along with me.
Back in 1971, Red Cross volunteers provided home-baked cookies that were served on their finest China at the refreshment table after donating blood ... nowadays, cookies and nuts come in plastic bags that can be very difficult to open.
Today, as was 50 years ago, only 3% of those qualified to donate blood do donate. And, only 30% of first-time donors come back to give a second time. Meanwhile, every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Additionally, over the years, the need for blood has grown due to the increase in more types of surgeries and the number of accidents and other actions requiring blood.
"The world round, a pint is a pound." A person can donate a pint of blood every eight weeks, but back in the 1970s and 1980s, one was limited to five donations a year, then raised to the present six donations. I have been donating a pint of blood regularly and uninterrupted for 51 consecutive years. Recently, I received my "35-gallon" pin, representing 280 pints. On my "bucket list," I would like to donate 365 pints of blood
so that I can boast that I have given the equivalent of one pint for every day in a year ... I have calculated that I will only be "93" when I accomplish that goal.
For about 15 years, I have driven my 1946 Ford Woodie wagon in Fourth of July parades, promoting blood donations for the American Red Cross with banners, window flags, manikins, and other props. This year, I will participate in the Lake Forest parade (which will be broadcast "live" on Youtube – and remain available for later viewing).
*****NOTE: Insert image here, of Woodie wagon and Fourth of July, Statue of liberty, etc. (woody3)*****
In 2019, one local TV station began to broadcast the parade. But an earthquake occurred near Ridgecrest, so the station broke away to cover a JPL spokesperson who talked on and on about earthquakes, then a television crew drove out to cover the minimal damage that occurred. Waiting for the station to return to the parade, one person was overheard to say, "Don't blame me, it wasn't my fault."
Hopefully, a few of the people attending the parade or watching it on TV will consider donating their blood. One of the signs on my Woodie wagon, Old Yeller, states: DONATE BLOOD: It is Red, Right, and You!
*****NOTE: Insert Woodie Wagon image here (woody2)*****
Several years ago, I was recognized as the Whole Blood Donor of the Year at a fancy luncheon on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. At that time, it was for 40 years of donating. When I was asked to say a couple of words, I began by praising the M.C. of the luncheon by saying that he had given me the finest introduction that I had ever received ... except for this other time when the M.C. was delayed in traffic, and I was asked to introduce myself ... LOL.
***** NOTE: Insert Queen Mary luncheon image here*****
Once, when I sent out an E-Blast to members of a car club to join me, I included a photo of me on the cot, pumping out a pint of blood: One of my buddies enlarged and sharpened the photo, noticing that the note on a cabinet behind me stated: DIRTY MANICAN. After he hit REPLY ALL, noting the note on the cabinet, he said, "That dirty manican sure looks a lot like Dougger," and then the chatter and abuse began.
***** NOTE: Insert "Manican" image here*****
There are many organizations besides the Red Cross that will accept your blood. Some offer tickets to movies and Gift Cards.
I'm happy with the snacks and juice after donating my "old school" pint. If you would like to join me sometime, I'd be happy to have you come along, and I'd let you know which cookie is my favorite!