Over 50% of these African Americans are type O+, like me.
Once I learned these very basic statistics, it was a no-brainer. I was excited that I could start donating on a regular basis and incorporate this small act of kindness into my life forever.
Then, shortly after that first blood donation in December of 2018, my own life was saved by the donated blood of a generous stranger. I required three blood transfusions during and following a surgery for cancer in November of 2019.
Following the cancer diagnosis, I was deferred from donating for a year and just became eligible again in January 2021. And I thank God for that eligibility, because making an appointment for a donation helped tremendously with easing the intense sense of anxiety and powerlessness I felt while watching the news on January 6th, in particular.
I've learned that when we feel overwhelmed by the staggering level of human suffering occurring in so many places and to so many people all over the world, the simple, deliberate act of donating blood feels almost like a meditation of sorts.
All we can do sometimes is focus on how in this moment, with this small act of service and kindness, we are fully present and engaged in something positive on behalf of a fellow human being. Just focus on that one human being. Just focus on this one act of kindness.
Sometimes it's hard to maintain a deliberate focus on kindness and a universal love of humanity to keep us centered. But days I have a blood donation appointment are absolutely my favorite, most peaceful days. I can not stress how strongly I believe that donating blood is something that EVERY healthy human adult should do at every opportunity, not just to help others, but also for your own mental health and spiritual peace.