The DCU Center General Manager, Sandy Dunn, started giving blood over 25 years ago. She donated for the first time when the venue hosted the American Red Cross Blood Drive, and then continued to do so when her father became anemic.
“He had to have a blood transfusion every couple of days. Each time he left the hospital he was like a new man,” Sandy said. “He would go from being lethargic and muddled to being energetic and sharp as a tack. It was at that time that I thanked those who gave regularly and committed to do so myself. Even though we lived far apart and I knew he wasn't receiving my blood, I knew that my giving was making the difference in someone else's life.”
Giving blood does make a difference. Donations can give hope to hospital patients in your community, including accident victims, heart surgery patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. In the case of Sandy’s father, blood donations gave her five more years with him before he passed away. “It is so critical to give,” she said. “He was older and this was not an emergency situation...what if he went in one day and they said ‘there just isn't enough blood for you today. We have to keep it for emergencies.’ That was never the case because people continue to open their hearts and take the time to give.”
Sandy encourages donating blood and says that being in good health is the most important preparation. “The atmosphere is collegial,” she added. “It is not like going to the hospital and the staff is used to making you feel comfortable and informed on what is going to happen next.” She also recommends choosing a time of day that works for you.
“Since it is the first time, pick a time that is easiest and when you feel the lowest stress. For some people that might be first thing in the morning, others might be lunch time or the end of day.”
Over the years, Sandy has noticed that most people have no issues with the blood donation process as long as they follow instructions and have something to eat and drink in the canteen after giving.
However, if giving blood is not for you, there are plenty of opportunities to give back in other ways.
“The Red Cross can always use volunteers and, of course, donations,” Sandy said. “They are often known for their tireless effort collecting blood, but they are the first on the ground for a lot of emergencies and can certainly use funding. They respond both in the community and world-wide with trained, talented volunteers in the most challenging of circumstances. Without their ability to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to respond to distressed communities, many would suffer for much longer. Until your community, friends, or family are touched by a disaster, you may not even know how important the role of the Red Cross is to start a road to recovery.”
Summer is always a challenging time for the Red Cross to keep up with blood donations, and they have issued an emergency request for all blood types. “With the challenges of the season coupled with Florida's recent closure of many of their donation centers due to the threat of the Zika virus, there is no more important time to take an hour or so out of your schedule to donate,” Sandy said. “With it being right here at the DCU Center, we hope that the downtown office workers will take advantage of the convenience and join us. With an advance appointment, they will have you in and out in no time.”
The DCU Center is hosting the Annual American Red Cross Blood Drive on Friday, August 19 from 10AM-4PM. The entrance is at Door 2 of the Convention Center. Presenting Donors will receive one voucher to Monster Jam playing the DCU Center on January 13-15 and a $5 gift code from the Red Cross. The Worcester Railers HC mascot will also be making an appearance from 2-4PM!
1. Make an appointment at redcrossblood.org.
2. Use RapidPass to begin the process before arriving.
3. Maintain a healthy level of iron in your diet, hydrate, and wear something comfortable with sleeves that can be rolled up above the elbow. Check this out for more information on how to prepare.
4. Follow instructions from Red Cross volunteers on-site.