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Jenna

Edgewater, Florida

A few facts about me: I am 24, I am terrified of needles, I'm a bit of a cry baby, and I do everything I can to help people.

I've always gone with my mom to donate blood, but I've never done it myself.

I hate needles and can't even look at them without essentially passing out. 

Fast forward to June, when the terrible shooting happened in Orlando.

Jenna

My brother, his girlfriend, and my best friend all were working at ORMC in the emergency room and dealt with the chaos amazingly. They helped everyone in the way they knew best. I have no skill in medical, and I comfort people with ice cream. 

What I can do is provide a service that God has equipped each and every one of us with - donating blood and gifting people with a second chance. I had no idea what type blood I had, but I knew that both parents and my other four siblings have O-, so I figured that if there's a chance I can help, I need to do it. 

The trick is to go with a friend. My coworker Paige and I both set appointments 15 minutes apart so we could be there for each other (neither of us had donated blood) and support one another. The Big Red Bus staff was so kind and made sure I was comfortable every step of the way. I am now a proud blood donor and may be slightly addicted to it! I've only donated once, but after reading the materials in the bus and on the OneBlood website, there are so many more people that need help every day! 

I am still terrified of needles, and I'm sure I will still get nervous, but I am dedicated to at least get to that 1 Gallon mark! I needed the sense of urgency to get me over the fear of donating, but now that I've gone through it and felt 100% fine, I know I'll be okay in the future. I felt better coming out of the bus than I did going in and all I did was donate a small part of me that can save a life. 

I will definitely go back to Big Red Bus in the future and encourage everyone I know to do the same. There is such a sense of accomplishment after donating and happiness in the fact that I can give someone else a second chance. 

TIP: Set an appointment with a friend! A solid support system is key!

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