Friday morning, I went down to my local American Red Cross office and donated blood (yes, in the USA, you can live with diabetes and donate blood—see more HERE).
The beginning of these appointments are usually pretty clinical, full of process-related steps that everyone has to go through before they actually stick a needle in your arm and do what you came for. At that point, things tend to open up a bit, because if they didn’t, you’d just be hanging out, you and the phlebotomist, with nothing to do for a while, and that would be kinda boring.
That’s when I try to get the phlebotomist to tell a funny story, or I try to tell one, and that keeps the conversation going while I squeeze on a little foam ball every three to five seconds during the “donation process”.
This time, after telling of my low adventures after the last time I donated, I asked the technician (name withheld) if she liked what she did there at the American Red Cross. I wasn’t prepared for what she said next:
“Oh yeah, I love it. I really do. When I started this job, I just thought I was collecting blood, and that was all. Then, my Mom was injured, and she needed at least a unit of whole blood every day for almost a month. One day, when I was visiting her in the hospital, I saw them hang a unit of blood and it had a sticker on it saying it came from my center. I just broke down and cried. I knew right then that I was making a difference, and I’ve never looked at my job the same way again. I love it.”
Maybe you’re raising money for a diabetes walk, hosting a D-meetup, or agitating elected officials to approve legislation so senior citizens can be covered for continuous glucose monitors under Medicare. If you do those things long enough, they can begin to get monotonous, and you may start to wonder if what you’re doing makes any difference at all.
Well, when you do, remember our technician’s story. And remember, like I’ve said before, if you make a positive impact on just one person’s life, that’s an impact that in most cases would not have been made if it weren’t for you. You make a difference, through the things mentioned above, and just by continuing to live well with diabetes. Even if we don’t get as clear an indication of our difference-making as my friend at the Red Cross.
If enough of us concentrate on helping that one person live better, healthier, happier; then eventually, those individual successes will steamroll into a greater success story than many of us could imagine. Until that day, let me say:
Thank you for making a difference.