The Charlie Bravo Story

Changing of the guard

Dad here; it was August 29,1994 when I first walked into the Red Cross to give blood. One of the first things I remember was a bulletin board featurong Polaroid pictures of old men who had reached certain milestones in giving, 1 gallon, 5 gallons, even 10 gallons! I remember thinking, “these guys are old!
I will never reach that level of giving!”

We recently received word that the local branch of the Red Cross was closing down as another collection agency had moved into town and were doing things a bit more efficiently, or whatever the reason the corporate types were trotting out in the press. I’ve known for years that it’s all about the money, that Red Cross sells my blood to hospitals, as all blood collection sites do as well. But since I know for a fact that blood has to find a way into the supply to save those that need transfusions for due to cancer, to replace blood lost due to trauma, and other emergencies, there was no stopping. When faced with choosing the lesser of two evils, letting someone use my donation to profit themselves or not giving at all and allowing those that count on such donations to suffer, I had no choice but to hold my nose and keep giving.

Now here I am, 25 years, 108 donations and 13.5 gallons later, and the last time I will ever sit in this particular chair, giving the phlebotomists a dose of the kind of friendly banter they have come to expect over the years from the short guy with the big mouth.

And to be honest, I’m going to miss it, but sometimes it’s time to turn in the keys and move on to the next need. Whether it be a church, a charity, a cause, there is always a need that only you can fill; service every need as it arises and you will find your ministry.

We all have a purpose, and we all make a difference; when one door closes, other doors will open, sometimes in unexpected places. Sometimes we need to fight and claw for our particular place, but other times it’s up to us to do as Charlie did towards her last days before we found her in the crate; marshalling her strength until she could be unleashed to fully utilise it.

And utilise it she does; I have never seen a dog more focused on her task, even if that task is something that others would view as frivolous. She now has a mission, and so do you, so go forth and Chark Diem on this beautiful Sunday morning. As with blood or even organ donation, never stop looking for an opportunity to give all you can, and then give some more.

The life you save may be your own!

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