For the past 30 years, Sharon Glick has served as chairperson for the annual blood drive at Bet Shira Congregation. The former elementary school teacher hopes to celebrate her 80th birthday on January 7 by having at least 80 people sign up to donate one pint of blood on Mitzvah Day, February 28, 2016.
“My kids kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday and what I thought would be important to me was to at least double the pints we normally are able to collect,” she says. “That’s what I’d like as a present: at least 80 pints of blood given on that day.”
Glick, a mother of six and grandmother of 12, first gave blood when she was a child and her grandfather fell ill. Out of all the members in her family, she and her grandfather shared the same blood type. She has since become a champion for oftoverlooked medical necessity.
“Giving blood has always been important,” she says. “It’s a very good cause, something I look forward to, extremely safe and it cannot be replaced. It’s only blood that can do the job; there’s no synthetic substitute. So much can be done with one little pint of blood.”
The blood drive will be conducted by OneBlood, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization which provides safe, available and affordable blood to more than 200 hospitals and their patients throughout the southeastern United States. It is likely you’ve come across or even entered one of their signature Big Red Buses. One will be on-site for the drive on Mitzvah Day.
“We all go to the doctor’s office, hold out our arms and they take blood,” she says. “Everybody does it every year. It’s easy and it’s safe. Picture a sandwich bag; it’s a small amount and very fast and sanitary.”
According to Glick, the challenge in reaching her goal of getting twice as many pints of blood as usual rests with convincing new donors to come out and give.
“The people who’ve given always give,” she says. “What I’m hoping to accomplish is to bring new people out to make a difference.”
Donors must be 17 years or older to donate, or 16 years old with a parental release, and weigh at least 110 lbs. A preliminary blood screening will be administered before blood is taken. OneBlood advises those giving blood to hydrate well the night before and eat a full breakfast. Cupcakes, snacks, soda, water, juice, PowerAde, chips, cookies and other foodstuff will be given to donors to rejuvenate themselves afterwards.
“Donating blood is something very important and only you have the capability to provide it,” she says. “It’s nothing you can buy. It must come from you to benefit someone else. It’s a mitzvah and a blessing.”
Bet Shira Congregation is located at 7500 SW 120 Street. For information on donating, visit OneBlood.org.