Not gonna lie, I had major writer’s block when attempting to write this post. I mean, how does someone who has never given blood herself convince others to do so? Was I reaching a new level of hypocrisy by writing this? What prevented me from giving blood anyway?
That last question stumped me. Most of us are aware of the benefits of giving blood: a single donation can save more than one life, and you never know whose mother, brother, or child you could be saving. Yet here I was, passing up a prime opportunity to accrue some major (yak)karma. Was it the law of inertia kicking in? Or was it just plain old fear preventing me from doing something good for the world?
I took the question to my co-workers. Those who had donated in the past, or were regular donors, gave the same reasons why: there’s a consistent need for donors, and it felt good knowing that you made a big difference in someone’s life. And those who hadn’t? “I guess I’m a little scared because it’s something I’ve never done before,” said one. “But there’s not really ONE good reason. I guess it’s just never been on my radar, as weird as that sounds.”
I understood that exactly. Those of us who have never donated know WHY giving blood is important. But it’s almost like we don’t recognize that OUR blood is important. I had never signed up for a drive in college because….well… someone else had to be doing it right? What does one more pint matter? Plus, it kind of seemed a little uncomfortable. It felt like a lot of pain.
But now, I feel like I missed out on the opportunity to make a difference. If I was a regular blood donor, maybe I could’ve inspired my friends to be one as well. Maybe that would’ve prompted their friends, and their friends, and so on and so forth. The law of inertia acting upon me was acting upon everyone else around me, and we had collectively, and unconsciously, missed innumerable opportunities to save millions of lives. It wasn’t just about one pint.
A huge vision that Tyler, Brooks, and all of us here at Yik Yak have for this app is that it becomes a force that unites people within and across communities. We have seen, firsthand, countless instances of a diaspora of people coming together to provide an overwhelming amount of support for an individual who posts about a particularly emotional time. Time after time, people support people they don’t even know.
The reason that we are so incredibly excited to partner with Red Cross is because we hope to harness exactly this power of community. Individually, you and I may never truly understand the impact our donation makes, even though it may be greater than what we can currently comprehend. But collectively, through mutual support and encouragement, we can foster a healthier and nourishing community, the impact of which will be hard for anyone to miss.
So, when Yik Yak is at the blood drive on Emory campus, I’ll be there donating. And I hope, wherever your local Red Cross blood drive may be taking place, you will be too.
With our thoughts we make the world; with our actions we change the world.