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     Both my father and father-in-law were big blood donors, a habit they likely picked up while serving their country back in the middle of the Twentieth Century. My father-in-law instilled the importance of blood donation to my wife and I caught the compulsion from her. Her O negative blood is welcomed by everyone while my O positive works for “only” 85% of the US population. Regardless of how you slice it, our blood can come in handy for a lot of folks, so we donate regularly.

     In Florida, blood donation is done via One Blood as opposed to The American Red Cross and PTK and I donated a pint each on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Even though I always tease the phlebotomists about not hurting me or making me bleed there’s no real pain involved, just a little pinch as the 16 gauge needle sticks the vein. Once that’s done, if you’re lucky, you get to crack jokes with the staff for the ten or so minutes required to donate.

     In the pre-donation check-up I’d already commented that my resting heart-rate was lower than my wife’s but I’d had to concede that while my blood pressure was good hers was even better. Stephanie, the gal who did our paperwork and med check asked if this was a contest and I said, “Of course.”

     Stephanie asked, “You gonna see who can donate faster?” and I said no because I figured I’d lose.

     Stephanie was doing paperwork and helping with the donations but Julio was the main bloodsucker at the corner of Little and Ridge Roads in New Port Richey, Florida where we donated. Julio was enjoying interacting with the donors, making us laugh and us making him laugh in return and today’s humor revolved around lasagna, with or without either spinach or ham. Julio and I hammed it up as my poor wife Pat and poor Steph were held captive but in the end we all got into the festive spirit and when our donation was done we’d done a good deed, had fun AND received two free movie tickets and two $10 Lowe’s gift cards; not bad for an impromptu donation spurred by the presence of the Big Red Donation Bus.

     So, if you’ve never given, please consider doing so. If you’ve given back in the day but not lately then reconsider and go donate ASAP; you just might save someone’s life. And, of course, if you give regularly then please keep up the good work. Blood donation is an easy and (almost) pain free way to help people in need in your community.

     Oh! And just so you know? My donation took just over six minutes while my wife’s was closer to seven. Winner and champion, folks, winner and champ-i-on!

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