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Blood Brothers
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Photo: G. Karuppasamy
My youngest son, Ben is now an adult. He looks for ways to pay back the debts he incurred growing up—to relatives, teachers, and adult leaders who gave him a hand. He wants to pay this debt forward, helping others.

His money is limited. He's taking a full load of college classes—limiting his toil and sweat giving. And he figures that no one much cares for his tears. So he pays off in blood—literally. He has become a regular at the local blood center, donating blood. Recently, he volunteered to do a double red cell donation. With this, twice the normal amount of red cells is extracted through a process called apheresis.His appointment was on a Saturday. That weekend, older brother Bill was home from college. Ben was nervous. It was the first time for him to do double red cell donation. Ben talked his older brother into driving to provide moral support.

Bill agreed—it was a chance to hang with his kid brother. Bill dropped Ben off at the door of the blood center and parked the car. By the time Bill came in, Ben was busy finishing up pre-donation paperwork. The woman at the reception desk asked Bill, “Are you here to donate, too?”  Before Bill could say anything Ben blurted out, “Yes.”

Never Given Blood

Bill had never given blood before but he had nothing against it. He knew I regularly gave blood before hypertension disqualified me as a donor. His kid brother regularly donated. He knew giving blood was a good thing. Bill decided why not? Bill began the paperwork to donate. Ben had been ushered out of the reception area by the time Bill finished. They took Bill to the donation room. As Bill got on one of the cots, he noted that Ben was absent. Bill, making a standard donation, thought that Ben, undergoing the double red cell process, was in another room. Bill soon finished up, no worse for the wear. Donating did not hurt, and he felt fine.

Bill left the donation room, and reentered the reception area. Ben was already there, looking sheepish. “How did it go?” Bill asked. “They turned me down.” Ben replied. The previous day had been hot. Ben had been working outside.  and had mild heat rash on the inside of his elbows, a temporary disqualification. The double red cell donation had been rescheduled for the following week.

After they left the center, Ben apologized to Bill. “I did not mean to pressure you into giving. I just blurted it out.”

“It’s cool,” Bill replied. “I did a good deed, and you now owe me. Big time. Two for one.”

I am proud of both sons. Blood is a critical product. There is no substitute, and it all comes from volunteers. Both were willing to roll up their sleeves to do a necessary job—one of them on short notice.

Why don't you consider donating blood, too. It saves lives.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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