As an adult, I have dealt with heart palpitations on and off for years. It can feel like a racing or pounding in my chest, and the most scary version feels like I’m skipping beats. I have even had a full work up twice to determine the cause, wearing the holter monitor for a day at a time and having echocardiograms and ultrasounds, etc. with no outcome except to say there’s nothing structurally wrong…I just have a sensitive heart. Doctors have told me I can lessen the likelihood of an episode by avoiding caffeine, stress, and alcohol and getting plenty of rest, but those aren’t guarantees against it happening.
No one ever said I couldn’t donate blood, but it still scared me. After all, if no one knew why my heart acted up, wasn’t it possible that draining a significant amount of blood could be a trigger, and maybe a terrible idea? I was unsure about what would happen and it made me nervous.
Last year, at the blood drive in honor of my Mom, I decided to give it a go despite my anxiety. After all, by that point, my body had done things I thought it could never do, like run, and so maybe I wasn’t giving it enough credit. Maybe I was stronger than I thought.
The amazing staff from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women Hospital could not have been more professional or kind. As I boarded the bloodmobile with my pulse admittedly a little fast, the place was full of smiles. There was fun music playing, and plenty of snacks, and most importantly, everyone knew we were doing something big and helpful, and doing it together.
My Mom received several transfusions during the time she suffered with ovarian cancer, and each time she said it felt like she had been brought back to life. A new surge of energy to do the things she needed to do, fight cancer, and enjoy her loved ones was provided with each supply of someone’s life-giving blood. As I lay there on a gurney getting set up, a kind tech walked me through the whole thing, gave me juice and cookies and a few things I could read…kind of like a Mom would.
And as I lay there, I turned away from the needle, (because you don’t need to look at any of it if you don’t want to), and turned toward the wall and mentally chatted with my Mom. I was thinking about the people who had donated before me, who gave my mother energy and life, and I thought about the ones who would receive my blood. And yes, a few tears fell, but my heart was totally, completely fine.
After I was done, I enjoyed more snacks inside, rested and chatted for a few minutes, and was back to work with the food drive portion of our event. We heard my Dad and his band sing, caught up with old friends, colored with our younger guests, and did our Mom proud. Helping people is the heart of what she is all about, and I know she helped me and lots of others that day to continue to serve others in her name.
This September, we would be celebrating my Mom’s 70th birthday, and so we’ve set a goal of collecting 70 pints of blood at our event on September 17. If you’ve read this far, and you can help us, we’d love to help you set up your appointment. Take it from me, it’s easier than you think, and matters way more than you know. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Find the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1431607243533069/?active_tab=highlights
To donate blood, please make an appointment by contacting Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781.929.3140 or by calling Tom Havlin at 781.341.0549. To donate food, bring non perishable items the day of the event. Please share this event with your friends and family, anyone you think would be interested in donating. Also, check back to this page, as we will be announcing some cool things. It is a fun day and we hope to see you there. THANK YOU!!!!
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