Commentary by Karen Volpe
World Blood Donor Day is June 14. About now, you may be thinking that this information is not important or meaningful to you and your family, I assure you that it is. The availability of a reliable blood supply is at the core of our nation’s health. Unfortunately, many of us learn the hard way the importance of available blood. Cancer and car accidents are not planned. We live in a world of instant availability. We are inconvenienced if we have to wait for a table in a restaurant, at a grocery checkout or a red light. I assure you that sitting in a hospital waiting for and needing blood that may never arrive is maddening.
This day, above all others, brings into the light the importance of a world-wide culture of voluntary blood donation. We need to be aware of the continuing need for a constant supply. Reliability is the difference between life and death. When your daughter needs blood products, reliability is the only thing that matters.
In Indiana, we have been blessed with the Indiana Blood Center. The IBC is a non-profit organization that relies on the citizens of Indiana to save, help and serve the citizens of Indiana. It is the perfect way to serve your community, and it costs you nothing. Your one pint donation can serve and save three patients’ lives. Each pint is separated into multiple blood products that can serve a variety of patient needs. Our Carmel Branch is in the Boardwalk Shoppes, 726 Adams St. The professionals at this location are trained and willing to help.
Yolanda Bibbs has worked for the IBC for 22 years. She said, “80 percenty of those that donate have a personal connection and an awareness of the need.” She also feels that it is important to expose your children to your donating habits, adding that it is common to assume that “someone else will do it.” Thelma Cunanan has worked with Yolanda for 17 years. They work tirelessly, along with all Indiana Blood Center employees, to assure that our health needs are met.
Elwood Roeschlein, of Zionsville, was completing a major donation milestone as I visited the Carmel Branch days ago. He now has donated 15 gallons of blood products. He started donating while in the military. He completed his service in 1979 but never stopped serving those in need of blood products.
“I don’t mind doing it,” he said. “I’m glad I can help”
I’m glad that Elwood can help too. In the aftermath of three successful bouts with Leukemia, my very life has depended on Elwood, The Indiana Blood Center and all those that have donated blood.
Not only will donating save a life, but it might also save your own. Prior to each session, the donor is given a cholesterol screening, blood pressure, iron count and temperature reading. Visit www.donorpoint.org to schedule your donation or go see Yolanda and Thelma. Your juice and cookies are waiting.