By Elizabeth Lane Hibbard, Ari's Aunt
I have never donated blood in my life. I am scared to death of needles. I have passed up a lot of opportunities to donate blood. I just can't bring myself to get in a chair and voluntarily let someone put a needle in my arm and take my blood out of my body. The thought is akin to sticking needles under my fingernails.
I have never donated blood, until last week. We were hosting a Blood Drive at my work--Paul Mitchell the School--St. George. With this health trauma that Ari has been faced with this past year, I have heard Travis comment how grateful he is for all of the people that give blood. Because, Ari has been the recipient of many transfusions. They are from complete strangers who will never know that their blood has saved someone's life.
I decided to donate blood and overcome my fears. Despite the fact that I kept telling myself I was doing this (indirectly) for Ari I was still experiencing anxiety. I had sweating palms and had to keep going to the bathroom. No idea why it made me have an overactive bladder. My stomach was turning and I was half hoping I could be disqualified from the questions they asked. I made it to the chair and the attendant exclaimed that my veins were golden. She was smiling so I assume that's a good thing. After a quick prick getting the needle in, it was smooth sailing. The anxiety was for naught, and it was an easy procedure.
I regret that I have not done this sooner and possibly been able to be a part of a miracle in someone's life who may have needed my blood. I regret that I am 39 and have taken this long and had to have a serious health issue in my own family before being moved to action. My hope is that anyone who may read this will be motivated to do more in helping out others. You may not know someone personally, but you will be giving a precious gift to another person's life. Not only will the person that receives your blood be given a gift, but you will also give to their mother and their father; their siblings; and their friends and family. Your small donation will affect lives like a ripple in a pond.
I don't know whose blood has been given to Ari in the many transfusions she has received. It would be impossible to tell. They most likely are not the people reading Ari's blog. Just the same, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making her life go on longer because you took the time to donate blood. Thank you for letting my brother have his daughter a little longer because you gave blood. Thank you for letting my sister-in-law be Ari's mother for a little longer because you gave blood. Thank you for the miracle that may have been nothing for you. Thank you for the small things...because the small things ARE the big things.