But I’m Afraid of Needles!
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Andrews University will be hosting its annual Blood Drive. In preparation for this event, I sat down Ryan Hayes, Associate Professor of Chemistry, to get some insight on his experiences with blood drives.
How many years have you been participating in blood drives?
Over the years I have watched my father donate blood in our town. I remember he even got to a point where he donated so much blood they gave him a pin and printed his picture in our local newspaper. When I reached the age to donate, I did. During my undergrad years here at Andrews, when I was in graduate school, and even when I began working I would donate (blood) every eight weeks. As of lately, I haven’t had the opportunity to donate since it takes so much time, but I am trying to register online and to see if it cuts down on time.
What are some of the benefits of donating blood?
The immediate benefit is that I actually feel better. Not in an altruistic way, where I think that I’ve the world a good deed, but I actually physically feel better. For some of us, when we lose blood we feel rejuvenated; I can get off the table and walk out. That’s not the case for all of us, so please eat the cookie, drink some juice, and make sure you feel good. I feel good though, physically and mentally. I also do feel like I am filling a need because not only am I doing something good, but there is a need for blood donations.
For some people, donating blood isn’t the hard part, but seeing needles puts them on edge. What are some ways people could get past the needles?
Don’t look! When I was donating every eight weeks, I would get brave and look down to see them trying to poke the needle into my arm. I realized I couldn’t do it. It’s okay to just look away, to think about something else. Also I like to think about it in a sense that we have all been injured in one way or another. A sibling has kicked or hit us, we’ve fallen down, but the pain of the needle can’t be worse than pain we have already experienced.
For other students, donating blood isn’t always an option. What are some other ways students can get involved?
Well, they certainly need volunteers, volunteers to help making reservations, handing out cookies and juice. Help is always appreciated when it comes to setting up and taking down. One can always be of help to be there to encourage others, to make it known that the blood drive is happening, asking and encouraging their friends to go can always be a help.
As a Christian, do you feel as if donating blood has an impact on your spiritual life?
Oh, absolutely! The imagery of the blood that Jesus shed and being able to give some of my own blood resonates deeply with me as a Christian. Blood is amazing, even from a scientific perspective, the Ph control, the water that in there, the enzymes and the nutrients—it’s just a life-giving substance. It’s such an amazing substance and to know that we can lose some of it, and give it without really hurting ourselves, we can really serve as a blessing to someone. We’re able to give and it comes right back to us how quickly our bodies regenerate it.
Do you have any last thoughts?
Be brave! You can do it! Make sure that you weigh enough and that you have enough fluids because you will be losing quite a bit of fluids. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. It’s definitely worth it and worth the experience.