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Father & Daughter Bonded by Blood Donation

September 20, 2011 at 9:42 am

By Gary Davis, Loyal Stanford Blood Center Donor

My name is Gary Davis and I would like to share my experiences donating blood with my daughter Katie. A little history first.

I had my hip replaced at Stanford Hospital in October 2008. A few months later I got a call from Stanford Blood Center (SBC) asking me if I could donate. I’d actually been interested in donating for years but never had a direct request to get me started. SBC happened to have a mobile truck due in my area the following week so I committed to visiting during my lunch hour. This was my first donation and afterwards, the technician told me my blood type was O- and that I tested negative to the cytomegalovirus (CMV). I’d never heard of CMV and asked a few questions. This was the start of a learning experience for me.

I learned that in an emergency it can take a half hour to type someone’s blood and since O- is the universal blood type, it would be used until a patients blood type could be identified.

I found out about the need for platelets at Stanford Hospital for leukemia patients and pre-mature babies. I became a regular platelet and blood donor and felt good about being able to give something to the community during financially difficult times. All it cost me was a little time and gas. Well worth it considering the constant need for blood supplies.

Last December my 16-year-old daughter came to me asking if she could get her nose pierced. My first instinct was to say no. I’m not partial to piercings and tattoos. But I thought about it a bit. She already had multiple ear piercings and, being 16, I could only stop her for a short while until she’d be able to do it anyway.

Then I had an idea. If she wanted to be poked with a needle, why not have her do it for a good cause? I told her that if she went with me and qualified to give blood, that if she donated twice I would let her get her nose pierced. I researched a bit and found that since her last ear piercing had been last summer she had to be deferred from donating for one year. She agreed pretty easily to my conditions. She was aware of my donations and was curious herself.

On Saturday, June 17, we went in for her first donation. Once there we found out she needed to have a photo ID with her, so we turned around and drove the 20 minutes home, and then back again. We were determined! Her first donation was a bit difficult, it took the technician almost two minutes to find a vein, and Katie was great. She didn’t squirm or complain at all.

Afterward we decided to treat ourselves. I had at least one SBC AMC Theatre pass with me, so we went and got a slice of pizza, then to a movie, hung out the rest of the day and had a very nice time together!

We found out she is O- and CMV- but unfortunately her veins are too small for apheresis. Her blood is still very much needed, though! In fact, I got a call a couple of weeks ago from SBC letting me know there were shortages and I let them know that we were planning on donating together again that Saturday.

On 8/27 we went in and Katie did her second donation. The technician found a vein on the first poke with Katie so it was an easier experience for her, even though the first time didn’t bother her. This time we went and did a bit of clothes shopping and got lunch together and spent most of the afternoon together. We’ve agreed that our donation days have become special to us after just two times. We make it a day of sharing time together, a rarity between my work and her school, sports, and friends. We are both looking forward to making it a regular outing. It’s our special time together catching up and enjoying each other’s company, and just as important, doing something for the community.

Katie will be getting her nose pierced soon, but now she has to wait until field hockey is over. She’s been very patient!

Thank you to all of the staff at SBC and the donors. Know that you’re all doing something very important!