By Jill Clardy, Stanford Blood Center blood donor
I was always terribly afraid of needles. But in the mid-1990s when my friend Evelyn was diagnosed with leukemia and needed apheresis donors, I went with a group of coworkers to the Welch Road facility to donate and be tested as a potential donor. Though I was not able to donate for her, I realized that my fear of needles was completely unfounded, and have been donating regularly ever since.
I just achieved my 65th donation and try to go every 8 weeks. I would go more often if they ever decide it is safe to do so. The staff is always so accommodating and welcoming and the cookies are great. So many people have fallen out of the donor pool over the years due to diseases, travels, etc., so all of us who qualify need to do what we can. Really, it is just one hour every eight weeks for a whole blood donation. In terms of community service opportunities it is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do.