Some normalcy in an abnormal time: Capitals Blood Drive

By Mel Abernethy

Our photographer Mel did what she always does and donated blood through the Caps blood drive. We were moved to tears and gratitude by her selfless action today.


I have done the Capitals blood drives since July 2015, that’s when my Dad passed away. Two days after he had passed, I did my first blood drive. I was so afraid of what came with donating blood: needles. But I got through it no problem and since then have gone to every blood drive the Caps and Inova sponsor.

MedStar Capitals Iceplex donor day.

Fast forward to today, March 28th, 2020 and we are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, which asks us as responsible people to stay home. I had made this appointment back in February at the last blood drive so when notifications started coming in that Medstar Capitals IcePlex was closed, and would be closed through the donation date I started to worry. That’s where all the blood drives have been and it helps me to go there because I know it so well and there are reminders of Caps hockey everywhere which reminds me of my Dad too! Will I be able to donate?! And will they let us donate with COVID-19 health measures asking all to stay home???

Mel and her dad

Sure enough Inova moved the donation centers to three places, one being Annandale VA. I was even more excited to go. Why? I used to live in Annandale when I was in 4th-6th grades. The Woodburn donation center was less than a mile from my elementary school and less than six miles from the old house I used to live in!!

Inova Blood Donor Services assured all donators that extra health measures would be in place when you come to donate. Well, that’s all it took to convince me I needed to keep my appointment and go donate!!

I arrived right at 8am to the Woodburn donation center. The Inova staff was much smaller than the usual Medstar Capitals IcePlex staff and they were only seeing 10 people at a time. It was awesome to see the care Inova put into this to accommodate all us Caps fans who usually fill Medstar all day to donate! Inova has also offered more donation days ahead to help!


Inova donation T-shirt and John Carlson bobble head in hand, I headed out to visit my old elementary school and house, from afar of course! I’ve always gone to donate blood to connect with my Dad, give back and hang out at Medstar while leaving some positive vibes for the Caps. Today was a little different but at the same time equally therapeutic.

John Carlson Bobblehead

I was able to give back in an uncertain time that when some people may feel donating blood could compromise their health. And I got to visit a place where I knew I was safe and happy from my childhood, which helped me to grow stronger as a person. I left some positive thoughts in my old neighborhood and school to help those living there to remember to be strong and brave through these abnormal times!

Mel’s inspiration for giving.

Friends, be like Mel. There is great joy to be found in giving of ourselves for others. We need each other today and we wil need each other tomorrow. Be safe and keep social distancing!

Oh Season of Giving

I started giving blood after my dad passed away in July 2015. I was already signed up for the blood drive before my dad was even sick,  so after he passed two days earlier, I went to Ketler to give blood in honor of my dad.

As soon as I got inside the ice rink I knew I was in the right place.. .all of my dads favorite players were honored with banners at the end of the rink: Dale Hunter, Rod Langway, Mike Gartner & Yvon Labre.

 My appointment today was for 730am and as I left Verizon Center last night after the Caps beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1, I contemplated not coming because it meant I had to get up at 530am on a Saturday!  But then I thought about the person who might need my blood donation and how they may not even have the option to wake up early or late on a Saturday, and it all made sense.
After giving blood, you are directed to the snack area to replenish yourself before heading out on your way. There is a survey to help Inova Blood services better serve us . One of the questions is how to get more people to not be intimidated to donate. I answered to assure people they were helping others and with the great service here you don’t have to be afraid of needles!!

 

 With Thanksgiving teo days ago and living in a time where being kind to one another is not reported on as much as the unkind stuff, it’s important to remember we should be kind and give more than we receive.

 If your unsure or afraid of giving blood, don’t be. I was in your shoes not too long ago, unfortunately it took me too long to realize it’s not about me. It’s about what I can give to help!

 Next blood drive is in January!  I’ve already signed up!! How about you?! Come join me!  You won’t be sorry!  Oh and did I mention the Marcus Johansson bobblehead! 😉

 Happy season of giving year round!!

Washington Capitals Week Ahead: 7 – 13 November

The Caps have three games on the schedule for this week: one at home and two on the road. After a busy week with a fifth win in a row and the events surrounding Hockey Fights Cancer, the week ahead may give them a bit more family time and time to bond on the road. We’ll keep an eye out for line changes after Ovi, Backy, and Oshie were reunited for a successful win on Saturday.

Game Schedule

Tuesday, 8 November, San Jose Sharks at Verizon Center, 7:00 pm on CSN-DC

Friday, 11 November, at the Chicago Blackhawks,  8:30 pm on CSN-DC

Saturday, 12 November, at the Carolina Hurricanes, 7 pm on CSN-DC

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday the Caps have a day off.

Tuesday Morning Skate at Kettler Caps Iceplex, 10:30

Wednesday Practice Kettler Caps Iceplex: 11:30

Thursday Practice Kettler Caps Iceplex, 10:30 am (Could be cancelled for travel)

Friday Morning Skate likely at United Center in Chicago

Sunday, we likely a day off as has become the tradition.

Special Events

Tuesday the nation votes for its next president and Caps fans vote for their next bobble head!!  Per the Caps press release your candidates are:

Braden Holtby (squirting a water bottle), Tom Wilson (as Wilson from “Cast Away”) and Justin Williams (with bed-head), and they’re all winners.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8, fans may cast their votes on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram using one of the following three hashtags: #VoteHoltby, #VoteWilson or #VoteWilliams. Voting will end at 9 p.m., during the Capitals’ home game against the Sharks.

Who to Watch

 

Zach Sanford turns 22 on November 9. Be sure to send him lots of birthday wishes on his twitter: @zachsanford21 or Instgram @zachsanford.

Ovechkin: Count down to 1,000 career NHL points. He has 977 as of 11/7.

Ovechkin: One goal away from matching Jaromir Jagr’s 19 regular season overtime goals and two from taking the lead in one more category. (as of 11/7)

Ovechkin: Three goals away from a new career high 200 power play goals (977 as of 11/7)

 

AND US!!  We’ll be live from Carolina on Saturday and Lily will be providing some information on the Blackhawks game after her visit on Friday. Stay tuned friends – we are everywhere for you!!

Wes Johnson Goes Presidential for Caps Vote

The ever talented and oh so presidential Wes Johnson announced the bobblehead vote today on Facebook live. Here are the details: 

https://www.nhl.com/capitals/fans/election-night

Voting takes place during the Sharks game at Verizon and online. Your choices are:

#voteWilson

#voteHoltby

#voteWilliams

Winning Bobble heads will go to fans on March 21st  game.