I have a story about the critical need for blood donations in today's newspaper. I always feel a little awkward writing about this subject -- it's one I feel passionate about, and I used to be diligent about giving blood every two months. I was one pint shy of my five-gallon donor pin when I had to stop giving.
The reason was a false positive test for hepatitis, many years back. I don't know what caused the false positive reading -- a lab error, or perhaps some cholesterol medication I was on -- but Red Cross went back and did a more accurate test which confirmed that I did not have hepatitis. I didn't even know there was a potential problem until it was all over with.
Even so, the rules governing blood donation are so strict that any positive test for something like hepatitis, even if it turns out to be false, disqualifies you from ever donating blood again.
So I feel a little like a hypocrite urging other people to go give blood, knowing that I can't anymore. But it's vitally important. Community blood drives are held in Shelbyville on the second Tuesday of each month at Regions Bank on Elm Street. This month's drive will be held Tuesday from noon until 6 p.m. There will also be a special drive at the same location Sept. 4 focusing on type O donors.
Please give, and please know that I'd be there next to you if I could.