Tuesday, June 26, 2012

100 pints

Continuing my story about my 100th blood donation taking place today, I share a few more anecdotes and interesting facts about blood donations.
A funny anecdote happened once during a Blood Drive in a New York clinic when I had another priest with me donating blood. A young man showed up also to donate and when he saw two priests sitting next to each other, he panicked. He asked the nurse what was going on….and why were two priests there. He actually started to leave and I and the nurse ran after him to convince him that everything was fine, no one had passed away and we were just there to do what he was planning to do – help save a life by donating a pint of blood.
Another surprising episode happened just after I gave my 99th pint this past April. We were starting the priests’ retreat in Bend and I scheduled an appointment there, since I could not be in Baker City where the drive was being held on the same day. Later in the afternoon, as the priests gathered for their retreat at Powell Butte, some priests saw my bandaged arm and asked me what happened. I told them simply that I had donated blood, and one of them asked me what do they give you for doing something so noble. I told him that a few cookies, a drink and a “Thank you” is all we ever get, and that’s fine with me, as giving blood can never be recompensed - it’s a genuine selfless gift we give to others. As soon as I turn around, another priest, Fr Luis Alva-Flores, the pastor at Madras, was waiting to talk to me and said to me “I have a gift for you Father Julian!” Believe it or not, that day was his birthday and we had just sang Happy Birthday to him. And with that he gave me his IPad. I was of course dumbstruck, and wondered if this was a dream or reality. Well, Fr Luis is a savvy high-tech young priest, and I was always asking questions about this new invention called the IPad whenever we met for meetings. And since he had just bought the latest version of the IPad, he thought that I deserved his first IPad, which I have been using ever since. I guess God knew who deserved a gift that day.
I take this opportunity to thank all the ladies who run the hospitality tables after donating at the Baptist or Nazarene churches in Baker City, especially for those delicious sandwiches and for the beef broth. I tell them that one of the reasons I enjoy donating blood is because of those sandwiches and the beef broth which always taste so good. Now I’m off to my second century of donations. My finals advice is - please donate blood, and save a life in the process!
I want to thank these generous people who have accepted to donate a pint of blood to commemorate my 100th donation: Paul Haytas, Darryn McCauley, Michelle McCauley, Dave Davis, Tammy Skidmore, Tom Fisk, Mary Stearns, Mike Voboril, Micah Wilson, Karen Endersby, Charlotte Bowers, Sylvia Bowers. Some of them are new donors, others are returning donors, not to mention the many other regulars who donate regularly.

Some interesting statistics:
- Only 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood – less than 10 percent do annually.
- 4.5 million Americans will a need blood transfusion each year.
- 43,000 pints: amount of donated blood used each day in the U.S. and Canada.
- Blood drives hosted by companies, schools, places of worship and civic organizations supply roughly half of all blood donations across the U.S.
- The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 17 million
- If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives!
- The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 9.5 million.
- The human body has 70,00 miles of blood vessels.
- There are 8 pints of blood in the human body.
- 90% of our blood is water.
- One-third of our body weight is water.

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