Stick it to me. My first trip to the donation table.

blood12“Just a little poke, then you can relax.” Sure. I’ll chant Ohm and smile as copious bags of blood drain out of the miniscule vein of my left arm. “You won’t feel a thing.” Really? Guess the tense ache in my arm was just my imagination. “It won’t take long at all.” Ten and a half minutes, actually. To my Red Cross attendant, not long at all. To me? I’d trade ten and a half minutes in plank pose, on a bed of coals, over this little exercise.

But you know what? So what. I donated blood today. And the poke, the aching, the subsequent bruise, the stars in eyes upon sitting up are, quite frankly, no big f***ing deal when I consider what I just did today.

I donated blood.

Which means someone gets to live a little longer. And that someone, in the unexpected and sometimes cruel nature of life, could have been me. I have had my share of crazy accidents. Three on a road bike that landed me in the ER. Mercifully, I didn’t need any extra blood. But if I had…

Tragedies happen. Think Boston Bombings.

And if everyone took the attitude I previously held about donating blood – Ouch! I don’t have time. I don’t like needles. I don’t like looking at my own blood. I don’t like feeling lightheaded – then a heckuvalotta people would die unnecessarily.

My Red Cross attendant slapped a cheezy little sticker onto my sweatshirt after my ten and a half minute ordeal. And you know what? I am prouder than ever to have earned it. “Shannon B made a difference at Red Cross today!”

I did. And it means more to me than any top ten race result, A-plus report card, or certificate of completion. My cheezy sticker tells the world I made a difference today. Because I did.

Go to Red Cross today and let ’em stick it to you. You’ll be glad you did.

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