Why I Donate Blood

January 25th, 2018

J.R. Labbe

I am in awe of the physicians, nurses and techs who are trained to respond to the unbelievable casualty situations we see every day at JPS. As Tarrant County’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, John Peter Smith Hospital gets the most critical and complicated cases in our community.

J.R. Labbe, vice president of Communications and Community Affairs

The trauma bays are a place where, day after day, we see examples of how fragile yet durable the human body is. From car wrecks to stabbings and shootings to just freak accidents, the trauma bay is an incredible cauldron of noise and lights and motion – a controlled chaos – around human suffering and human compassion.

It almost goes without saying: Trauma hospitals and cancer centers require a lot of blood. JPS hosts blood drives about four times a year, and I donate every time I am eligible because I have what’s called baby’s blood.

There is a virus called cytomegalovirus, or CMV. The medical folks tell me it’s very common. Most healthy people who get it have symptoms so mild they never even know they had it. But in newborns, CMV can cause serious, even life-threatening consequences. Babies born with medical conditions that require blood transfusions, such as cancer, need blood that doesn’t have CMV antibodies. So they get blood like mine.

Every time I donate, I look at that red cord running from my arm and literally see life for an infant. I never had children, so it’s the closest I will ever get to the physical connection every mother experiences with her children.

I’m working on my sixth gallon of blood donated through Carter BloodCare. It’s taken 27 years to get to this point. I calculated the math: four pints in a quart, four quarts in a gallon. That means I’ve donated 80 pints. If every pint saves three lives, that’s 240 nameless, faceless lives I have touched in a positive way.

Donating blood is virtually painless – a little stick and a sting – and doesn’t take very long. You can even make an appointment in advance for the February 1 blood drive scheduled at JPS.

Please, use the power of the scarlet cord to save a life.


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