“Do you want me to hold your hand?” said my best friend, Hallie Diaz. Now let me give you some context. On December 14, I did something I never saw myself doing. Sitting in the gym for an appointment at 10, I had a million thoughts going through my mind. What if I cry? What if I can’t go through with it? What if they can’t take my blood? What if I pass out? Walking into the gym, I was greeted by Arrianna Martinez to sign in and get my papers together. I was given a packet to read about the process and what all could happen during and after the process. After reading, I sat down waiting for my turn. When my name called, I followed a man to a desk and had to give him my student ID, which ended up not working and I had to go out to my car and get my license.
Once I returned, my best friend Hallie Diaz and boyfriend, Braxton Stotler, were already past the desk part and about to start the donation process. Once I proceeded through the ID portion of the donation, I had to do the most dreaded part, the finger prick. Days leading up to donation day I asked people what they thought of the pricking, what their experience was, and how much it hurt. Needles don’t really scare me too bad, but I haven’t met anyone that is a fan of needles. Once the nurse cleaned my finger for the prick, she explained that they recently switched to a new pricking needle, which was very small and honestly still gives me chills while writing this. She pricked my finger, which didn’t really hurt while she did it, but my finger was throbbing after that.
After sitting at the desk and filling out a series of questions, it was time to give blood. People gathered around my bench to comfort me and the process was starting. Hallie was already done with the donation and had come to stay with me along with Megan Dishon, the Silcox twins, Mrs. Swanson, and evidently, my mom. My mom had been running a few papers down to give to Arrianna at the front desk, and as soon as I saw her, I asked Hallie to go get her. As soon as I saw her with the other girls, I smiled. I was relieved slightly. Before the needle went in, Hallie asked me if I wanted to hold her hand because I was starting to tear up. I gladly took her hand, which I really appreciated. My mom was trying to get my attention while the needle went in by telling me what my sister is receiving for Christmas, but I really don’t know what she said because I zoned out to not notice anything. As soon as the needle was in, Mom went back to the office, but the girls stayed. Hallie was talking to me and gave me some tips to make the process faster. I really appreciate her.
The rest of the process went by pretty fast. The bag was filled and the needle was finally out. A bandaid was put on my arm and I stood to go get some food to get my energy back up. Even though I had just donated, I stood up just fine. Braxton and Hallie were waiting over for me at the snack table, and we talked about how we felt and munched away at some of my favorite snacks. This was all fun and I didn’t really want to go, but it was now fifth period, my band period, and I was feeling just fine.
Before I left the gym, Swanson told me that she was so proud of me and I picked up my Red Cross shirt and a snack to go. Thankfully I didn’t have to walk far because the band room is right across the hall, and when I walked in the classroom, Mr. Muth was “hosting” a game of music jeopardy.
Before the day came, I was so scared of giving blood. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had watched some videos about what would happen, but I became even more nervous. For anyone donating for the first time , don’t be nervous. People will be there to help you. Just breathe and relax, and know that everyone’s experience of this kind of thing is different. Will I do this again? I have no idea, but I find great joy that I went through with it. Thank you to everyone that helped me and calmed me down because I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have you.
“I thought that the blood drive was a success. Since we did the blood drive, a lot of lives were saved because of it.” -Braxton Stotler
“I was pretty nervous, but the people there made me feel more comfortable. I really encourage people to donate because being a little lightheaded afterwards is completely worth it when you’re helping three people who really need it. It feels good to know you’re helping out!” -Hallie Diaz
Picture 1: Hallie Diaz donating her blood Picture 2: Me donating blood