With all of the festivities the month of May brings to Indiana, like the Indy 500 and more importantly, the Memorial Day holiday, it is appropriate to reflect on the concept of “service” to others. Obviously, the ultimate in service comes from those who have given their lives in current or past conflicts around the globe, and remembering them on the last Monday in May each year is the least we can do.
While we can all find simple ways to be of service to our fellow man, nothing is as important or as valuable in my view, as is the gift of life through the donation of blood or blood products. In fact, it was just a year ago this month, when James Hinchcliffe, a young Indy Car driver, crashed during a practice run and was rushed to the hospital. On the way to Methodist, he received over 14 units of blood, which is more than his entire blood volume. Thankfully, his life was saved, in no small part due to the kindness of strangers who were willing to serve others by donating their blood.
Hinchcliffe not only recovered, but also went on to win the pole position in this year’s 100th running of the Indy 500. Without the altruism of blood donors and the dedication of the talented staff at Indiana Blood Center who make the blood available to those who need it, success stories like this one would not be possible. Remember, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
So, while we all enjoy a long weekend and all the celebration and excitement that the Indy 500 generates, let’s remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for us and let’s honor them by doing our part. Blood donation is at its lowest point in the summer months, and unfortunately the need for blood is often highest during this same time period. Put “service to others” on your summer to-do list and race (safely) to your nearest Indiana Blood Center site or local blood drive. That way, when someone asks you in the fall what you did this summer, you can say…”I made a difference and saved lives”!