Our 11-year-old granddaughter, Emmeline, had complications from a surgery in which she lost a lot of blood. She required a blood transfusion in September 2020. She was so grateful someone donated blood vital to her recovery. She knew I was a blood donor, so asked to accompany me during my next visit to Canadian Blood Services. At that time, December 2020, COVID restrictions allowed only the donors to come in, so we had to do it remotely. Canadian Blood Services still required me to donate in person. (Technology has its limits.)
Once at the donor centre, I received permission to turn on my phone and video chat with Emmeline. Her mom and younger siblings soon joined in. I showed them the needle in my arm and the lines that guided my blood into the pint-size (500 mL) bag. It gives new meaning to the phrase “share a pint” with someone.
Emmeline said, “That’s just like the bag from my transfusion, except it was hanging from a pole!”
Her mother said, "It took several hours for you to receive your 500 mL bag of blood. Grandpa will fill his in 15 minutes."
Fifteen minutes? I could do it in seven! I told the grandchildren there was a timer out of my view. If I held my phone just right, however, they could read it. They called out the times to me: 2:45, 3:20, 4:10 ― I realized I might be able to finish in less than 5 minutes. I told the children if I did, I might win first place!
The bag filled quickly, and a staff member came over and said, “You’re done — 4:54.”
I cheered, as did the donor beside me. I asked, "What do I win?”
“A bag of Cheetos. In fact, you can have two bags!”
I walked over to the refreshment area and jokingly stated I had won two bags of Cheetos. A staff member realized I was still video chatting with my grandchildren, so she told the volunteer at the snack station, “We need to give treats to the children. Give them each a cookie and anything else they want.” She loaded me up with cookies, Cheetos, chips, Nuts & Bolts. What a haul!
Thank you, Canadian Blood Services, for being so accommodating. You have just won over three future donors.
And thank you, anonymous donor, for your life-giving donation our granddaughter received when she so critically needed it. Afterward, Emmeline observed that when a person donates blood, it is warm. When she received her transfusion, the blood was cold. But her body received it, warmed it up again, and completed the cycle.