June 14

World Blood Donor Day


For Roy, it was never technically a donation.

Near the end of the month, as other funds ran low and the rent check loomed, he would sometimes sell his blood for money.  One of the places he used would pay $30 each time, but they were strict about record-keeping, stingy about repeat visits.

In tougher months, he might use a different name and also visit the $20 place a time or two — a little orange juice and an energy drink, and he was mostly good as new.

Roy sometimes wondered what would happen if he really grew short on funds.  How much blood could he give, before he was completely drained?

Every place he tried, even the cheapest ones, had posters on the walls, praising visitors for their “Gift of Life.”  Roy never asked where his blood plasma went, who it helped…but the posters made him feel good about himself.

After the cataclysm, after so many accidents and disasters, hospitals were overflowing with victims, but the cooler weren’t exactly overflowing with blood.

Supply and demand economics, Roy thought.  The price should go up.  Way up.

What actually happened was this:  more volunteers came forward.  It was a true lesson in human compassion, people rising to the occasion, helping strangers in a time of crisis and feeling good about it.

Not wanting anything in return.

If people felt like this in the old days, Roy might never have been able to pay his rent.

Then again, maybe he could learn from these spontaneous volunteers.  Follow their example.  Be a better person.

In this time of crisis, the technicians didn’t bother with paperwork.  Roy was able to visit multiple sites, multiple times in a month — in a week, even.

His eyes had been opened.  He finally saw the benefit to unselfish sacrifice.

Except, his eyelids were heavy.  His thin arms were almost too weak for him to lift, but he encouraged the latest technician to find the best place to insert a fresh needle.

He drifted away, his mind filled with pleasing thoughts about the different lives he might be saving.