After giving blood today I sat at the closest table to the doughnut counter-- Easy access for an extra doughnut and a little bit of company since I was by myself.
The lady behind the counter, Lynne, was excellent at making conversation, though she may have been a little hard of hearing at times. She was an old hat at this, about four or five years in, at serving up cold drinks, coffee, and doughnuts to blood donors.
Each of us donors were treated to whatever we wanted. A doughnut and a bag of Bits & Bites? No problem. It's the least they could do since we'd come to give our blood.
I sat at the table and I inhaled my doughnut.
"They're good, aren't they?" She said. "They're from Salisbury House. Nothing but the best for our donors."
I asked her how long she'd volunteered for, and why she started.
It was something she needed to do she said.
About eight or nine years ago her husband needed blood, and not just once. He needed it regularly because he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. He was given three months to live, but he lived for 14 months thanks to the blood donations he received during his treatments.
"He was always going to die, his leukemia wasn't curable," she said. "But, we got an extra year because of the people like you who donate blood."
And that year, she said, meant the world to her husband and her family.
"He wasn't just given extra time, he was also given quality of life."
A few years after her husband passed away Lynne decided to start volunteering at Canadian Blood Services. She said being there and being able to tell people just how important their donations are is something she knows is important.
"I am a link for people like you who come in to donate blood. I have benefited from it, and I need to keep telling people my story," she said.
She recalled a time when her husband got a call cancelling his appointment because they didn't have any blood for him. It was time of dire straights. Blood donations, she assumes, had been slow and he would just have to wait.
"When you hear about them putting out urgent calls for blood they mean it," she told me, adding that her husband only had to wait a few days.
"He was OK, but if they bring in someone who's been in an accident..." Her voice trailed off.
We chatted a little longer while she tended to others and I sipped my Sprite. She was comfortable and motherly. I told her I enjoyed her company and asked if I could take her picture and share her story on my Facebook page. She looked at me in this funny way and she said "OK, just because you asked..."
I thanked her, and she thanked me, and then I got up to leave and to book my next appointment at the front desk.
"I hope to see you next time," I said.
"Book it on a Wednesday. I'll be here."
**Posted with permission**