Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Blood Donor Card

I have been donating blood semi-regularly since about 1996. After
several years, I finally received a true-real donor card that I have
been using to track my blood pressure each time I donated blood since
2004 - 17 times since 2004. I almost donated blood the maximum number
of times you could do so (every two months) in 2007.

My donor card is now filled up with pieces of information. I had
requested a replacement at least three times and had not gotten one, so
yesterday I fired off an email to five people at my local Red Cross
office, including the area director. It read as follows:


I have donated blood seven times since January 2007, and more than
seventeen times since I received my first donor card in 2004 (Donor ID
W1860 637979D). Donating blood is a good thing to do, and your group
at the Southpoint Parkway is a great group to deal with.

However, the last three times I have donated blood, I had requested a
new plastic donor card so I can continue to track my donation dates and
blood pressure readings. Each time I requested a new donor card, I was
told one would be in the mail and I should receive it before my next
blood donation date. Each time, no new blood donor card arrived in the

I am now eligible to donate blood again, and I really want to do so.
But I am growing more concerned that your organization cannot produce a
new blood donor card after three requests. This inability to
efficiently replace an item as simple as a donor card is very
discouraging to me.

There are many advertisements and pleas for blood donors. I am a
willing blood donor in need of a new donor card. My current card is
filled up and there is no more space to track the dates when I donated

Please let me know what you can do to expedite this request. I believe
the donor cards come from a location that is not under your control, but
the apparent inability of the Red Cross to fulfill this simple request
is making me reconsider my dedication to regularly donating blood.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your positive response, and
a new blood donor card

Kenny McKane, O-negative

# # #

Later on in the day, I received this response:

Mr. McKane,
Thank you for sharing your concern. I will follow up to see what the
status of your new card is and let you know what I find out. Typically
new cards take 8 to 10 weeks as they come from a central location.
However it looks like you have requested a new card the last three times
you donated which certainly fits within that 8 t 10 week window.

We appreciate your dedication to this life saving mission.

I'll be in touch soon.

Senior Account Manger, Mid Atlantic Blood Region

# # #

I got the idea to send off a mass email from Reader's Digest. It
appears to be working, and I hope to get a replacement card soon.

What bothers me, and I did not put this in my letter, is that it seems
to me that if the Red Cross can't replace a donor card, what is it doing
with my blood? I like to think it's being used immediately and
effectively, but my experience in getting a replacement donor card has
me worried.

I will still donate blood, as it's a good thing to do. I tell people I
do it just for the free T-shirts and snacks, but really, it doesn't hurt
that much and it can really help out people in need. Just yesterday I
heard on the radio that donating blood helps reduce something bad in
your blood related to iron or something, which ought to help improve
your health!

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