While I’ve had an organ donor card for almost 25 years, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never donated blood, but last week I booked an appointment for this past Saturday. On Saturday morning I woke up a little nervous, but also excited to be doing something to help someone else who needed it. I showed up with my mask on, had my temperature checked, showed my ID, answered a lot of questions, and got my hemoglobin checked by getting my right index finger pricked. 

I was all set to go sit in one of the recliners and let them take my blood, when the woman who pricked my finger informed me that I’m anemic so I’m not allowed to donate. She thanked me for coming in and I apologized for not being able to leave them my blood (I’m really very Canadian). On the way out I pulled off my “First time donor” sticker, dejected, and left.

I’ve heard from several people that they’re feeling a bit “useless” right now. I think most people would like to be able to do more to help in this crisis that we’re all facing. Yes, staying home, wearing a mask and social distancing when we go out make a positive difference, and I do those things, plus my work at the university is hopefully making the remote learning experience less painful for students, but even with those things, when seeing the news, it’s easy to feel the need to do more.

So here are some ways to do that:

• Give blood. If you’re healthy, and not anemic, you can help save a life. Get more information from Canadian Blood Services or the American Red Cross.

• Donate to a local charity, such as the food bank, SPCA, domestic violence shelters, and other organizations that help those in need.

• Volunteer to make masks, make or deliver food to front line health-care providers, or to pick up groceries for those who can’t go out and get them

• Pick up the phone and call someone you know who may be alone

What other ideas do you have?

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