I used to see that saying all the time: give blood play hockey! And I would think, I’m too scared to give blood where they put a needle in your arm for what seems a long period of time!
I decided to finally volunteer to give blood last summer after my dad passed away. The Caps were sponsoring one of the blood drives at Kettler Caps Iceplex. I scheduled an early morning spot so I wouldn’t stress over giving blood all day.
I had some incentive to go.
1. When you give blood you receive a bobblehead and a Caps t-shirt..
2. I got to go to the same ice rink the Caps practice. Since I live in Annapolis, MD I don’t get to Kettler quite as much as I would like. And even though it was July and Caps practice was a month plus away; I knew it would be good to go there to feel near my Dad, and
3. It’s always good to volunteer and give to others!
I checked in at my time slot and was called back to the testing area to see if my blood pressure and iron levels were healthy enough to give. I met so many nice people throughout the testing process, which took only 20 minutes.
I was still in shock over my dad passing away and told my testing nurse about him. She was so kind and let me cry to her as I talked about my dad. She shared my story with the nurse drawing my blood. My story even made it to the blood donor coordinator. They all came over to me and let me share my memories with them. I told them I was so nervous, but I knew my dad was with me as my strength to be there!
In a matter of 15 minutes, I was done. I hardly felt a thing. All I felt was a sting in my arm where the needle went in to start drawing the blood. As I was giving blood, my view was the ice rink with Caps logos everywhere and Saturday morning ice skaters learning how to skate. It was such a nice backdrop to focus on while being so afraid.
After giving blood, I rested for 15 minutes to make sure I wasn’t lightheaded. Then I was able to have some water, juice, and snacks while I filled out a questionnaire about my experience. I sat at a table above the ice rink where the Caps practice most days. With banners in the background of Yvon Labre, Rod Langway, Mike Gartner & Dale Hunter; I knew my dad was with me. Those were the same players my dad taught me about and we both rooted for. What an experience to have. Truly special!
Now I go every time the Caps have a blood drive. This Saturday’s blood drive will be just as special . I hope too that if you may have been fearful of needles and giving blood that maybe I helped change your mind .
When you come down to it, you are helping save a life!
We would love to hear about your experiences and see pictures with your Dmitry Orlov bobblehead! Tag us in them and we will add them to our story on Sunday!