The first time I donated blood was at my high school. Despite a fear of needles, I wanted to help out with the cause. However, I had trouble getting past my fear and during my donation I became very upset.
Still wanting to help out and get over my fear, I promised myself I would try again the next opportunity I could. After graduation that year, I began my first semester at Penn State during the summer. Half way through, I happened to be walking through the HUB and right past a blood drive. I walked right in, knowing if I made an appointment ahead of time, I would back out beforehand due to my nerves. It was the best decision I could have made.
The volunteers at the blood drive, all members of Penn State's Student Red Cross Club, welcomed me and offered to help me in any way they could. I asked one of the girls to stay by my bed and talk to me while I donated so I wouldn't think about it too much and psych myself out. Not only did she take the time out of her day to stay and talk to me, but she hold my hand during the entire thing. I still jokingly tell her that I think she saved my life that day. Her presence kept me calm and I was able to get through my own fears and help save someone elses' life.
10 donations later, I'm still donating blood every 56 days and I still love to have someone hold my hand. I keep donating because it is the best feeling ever knowing I am only taking an hour out of my life to potentially save three lives. Over the past four years at Penn State, I have met so many amazing volunteers, employees of the American Red Cross, and donor recipients. Each of them has touched my life in some way and I am inspired by the individuals and families I have met whose lives have been saved from blood donations. Although, my first experience wasn't the best, I am so happy I took a chance and tried again. As I said before, it was the best decision I could have made.
Please give donating blood a chance. Help save a life.
Vice President, Penn State Student Red Cross Club