Not everyone has the holiday Monday off

Four volunteers and a donor at Canadian Blood Services

Just like these lovely women, you too could feel this fantastic.

I realize it’s a holiday Monday and you probably don’t want to be pestered with a post, but in order to keep with my usual blogging schedule, I went out in search of a worthy story. And so J. and I heeded the call of the Canadian Blood Services, since they’re experiencing a shortage of blood products. J. is the star of this story since she is the picture of health. I can’t donate myself, unfortunately, because of my defective, i.e., genetically mutated, blood. Darn those blood disorders.

J. agreed that I could join her if I promised not to cry. Yeah, right. How long do you think that lasted?  She knows me too well.

Turns out that on this holiday Monday, not everyone was out enjoying the glorious summer day. The clinic was a hubbub of activity, with numerous staff and volunteers sacrificing their time to accommodate all the generous donors. It wasn’t overly busy when we got there, but by the time we left, it was standing room–or should I say “reclining room”–only.  Man, those chairs looked comfy.

We saw donors of all colours, shapes and sizes, and everyone seemed happy to be there. I wondered what motivated these people to donate. Do they know someone who’s been in a car accident, or someone battling cancer?  Or maybe they just donate because they are kind, generous people.

I wanted to walk around and thank each donor personally, but I envisioned two potential pitfalls: 1) I would have started sobbing uncontrollably, and I was barely holding it together as it was; and 2) people may have been reluctant to donate in the future, fearing they’d have to deal with an emotional wreck like me each time they came in.

J. passed screening and was called over to one of those deluxe recliners to donate. The astute nurse, Liane, invited me out of the cheap seats to lend my adoring support to J., except when the needle went in and I had to look away. Liane told us that she loves working at the clinic because, in her words: “The people who come here are good folk.” She’s right. [Insert more tears here.] Her joy was infectious.

Competitive one that she is, J.’s bloody bag was filled before you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (that was the longest word I could think of). So off we traipsed to the donors’ café, where four eager volunteers kindly waited on us hand and foot. J. placed her order of chicken noodle soup and juice, while Michele, the lovely volunteer who greeted us, encouraged me to have a snack too even though I had not donated. In fact, she insisted I could not leave empty stomached. And so, under duress, I accepted a drink, and, under more duress, a bite of J.’s milk chocolate chunk cookie.

I left convinced I’d like to volunteer here. I’d just have to find a way to contain my emotion (or maybe not–those donations saved my life), and not to steal too many of those cookies.

What’s wrong with sharing my gratitude aloud? These people–the clinic staff, the volunteers, the donors–should know how important their contribution is. I now regret not telling each and every one of them. So what if I cry in public? Let everyone think I’m crazy for all I care.

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10 thoughts on “Not everyone has the holiday Monday off

    • nls2015: J. Is the good person here; I’m just the support staff, not that she needs that. It was pretty great to see so many people doing good for others on a day when they could have been out having fun. I’m glad the story distracted you, if briefly, from all the bad stuff. XO

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  1. Thank you, J. (and Annie) for donating! I used to go regularly, and I was terribly disappointed that I was no longer able to donate after being diagnosed with cancer. I will join you vicariously.

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  2. Hi Annie!,
    I love volunteering at Canadian Blood Services. Everyone who walks through those doors, are there in support – it comes in many forms. There is nothing wrong with showing emotion, and tears…its perfectly normal.. Thank you so much for including me in your blog – truly grateful!

    Michele ❤

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    • Dear Michele: What a lovely and kind response to my post. I’m so glad you checked it out and read about my gratitude to you. What a lovely crew you all are. I may see you there again soon, through my tears. Keep doing what you do. It is noticed and appreciated. Annie

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