It really is Valentine’s Day all year at Houchin Community Blood Bank, because volunteer donors are giving from their hearts to help others each time they donate. What better gift could there be this Valentine’s Day, or any time all year?
Lots of couples donate, including Carole and Michael Daigle. Michael is a CPA and realtor, and Carole works with kids at the Bakersfield Police Activities League. They have two wonderful sons, and a terrific daughter by marriage. Carole is a Trima donor and Michael chooses to do whole blood, because he prefers less time with a needle. He jokes that giving blood is also a way to get the snacks he’s not allowed to have at home.
The couple grew up back east where there was no local blood bank, so they got started donating when a co-worker of Michael’s had a sick child. Carole acknowledges that Trima “takes a bit longer” than giving whole blood, but “can help more people in the long run”. She would much rather be on the “giving side”, since “any of us could be on the receiving end” of blood, plasma or platelets. The extra time in the Trima chair allows her to “sit and relax for a while”, something she doesn’t take much time to do at home.
Carole can give more often, but she and Mike do enjoy giving together since they often go for a lunch date after donating. They suggest taking your “better half” in to donate like they do and make it a date. “It doesn’t hurt, only takes a little bit of your time and you get to laugh with the friendly Houchin staff. If it wasn’t for everyone making it a fun experience we wouldn’t go nearly as often,” they say.
Another of our donating couples is Randy and Renee Greenlee. Randy is the Safety Officer for Houchin Community Blood Bank, and Renee is a very proud wife and mother. Randy first began donating in the service, and tried Trima when his father was hospitalized in Santa Barbara. “I drove there and donated my first apheresis. It really hits home when a family member is involved. I’ve been donating ever since.” Renee started donating whole blood when she married Randy 25 years ago. “After being educated on the importance of donating blood I realized something that takes so little time can save so many lives,” she says.
Because Randy does Trima and Renee whole blood, they don’t often give together, but on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day they both give whole blood in recognition of our veterans and those currently serving in the military. Randy offers these convincing words to others on the subject of blood donation: “There is no badge, there is no uniform, there is no recognition and there is no other source.”
Randy recommends that other couples consider donating together because, “What better way to serve your community, what better gift to give your neighbor?” Renee adds: “Is there any better way to save a life than with the one you love?”