“If I could donate blood that could potentially save a life and help another family avoid the pain of losing their loved one, I was in.”
– Nicole Euler
By Nicole Euler
Fostering community growth in Orlando is my passion. While my work at the Orlando Economic Partnership brings me closer to the businesses choosing to make the City Beautiful their home, I dedicate some of my personal time to organizations that make my hometown special.
One of my favorite groups to work with is OneBlood, and my blood donation story has been quite the journey.
I was introduced to blood donation when I was 17 and attending Edgewater High School. Blood donation was a way to get out of class and score a free donut. Unfortunately, that donut did not do the trick – I passed out shortly after my donation, and I thought my story had ended.
Fast forward to June 2016 and the Pulse tragedy, when a gunman killed 49 people and left 53 wounded in a nightclub shooting in Orlando. Hospitals were overwhelmed and blood supplies were running critically low.
Like many others, I wanted to help our community in any way possible. Companies across town set up blood drives, and when the Big Red Bus came to my workplace I decided it was time to face my demons and donate. To ensure success, I did research, ate a good meal, stayed hydrated, and followed up afterward with a snack. To my relief, the donation went perfectly.
The next month tragedy struck closer to home when my father passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. Losing a loved one is devastating and turns your life upside down. I wanted to do something to honor my father, but I wasn’t sure what I should do.
As I walked down the hallway at work a few weeks later, I saw a flyer for OneBlood – this was it! I knew it was no coincidence. If I could donate blood that could potentially save a life and help another family avoid the pain of losing their loved one, I was in. This is how I would honor my dad.
Six years later, I continue to be all in with my routine blood donation, usually a morning appointment, now with cookies and juice instead of a donut. I’m on track to hit the five-gallon blood donation mark in November of this year. It’ll be on my 40th birthday, so to celebrate I’m partnering with OneBlood to host a blood drive, with the goal of 40 donors.
If you’re nervous about donating, the OneBlood website is full of great information. The nonprofit’s staff is always fantastic, taking care of donors in a comforting and efficient manner.
While the OneBlood swag and incentives are a bonus, they don’t compare to the reward of knowing that your blood will soon be helping someone in need. In fact, every blood donation has the potential to save three lives. Just the thought makes my heart skip a beat!
If you’ve never donated, or if you had a first-time experience like mine, I encourage you to give it a try. In a world full of chaos, donating blood is one of the simplest and most rewarding ways to give back.
Will you join me as a donor and share your power?