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Jaela McQuillan

Donating for a specific person made me feel much more connected to our mission than I ever had before. Knowing that my blood was a match for someone, and that they were depending on me, made the process feel really important. I always know when I donate that my blood is being used to help those in need, but to know it was being sent to a specific person for a specific purpose made the connection between donor and patient very real. On the other hand, being an HLA match made me nervous – what if my iron was low or a full unit couldn’t be drawn!? I didn’t want to let the patient down.

For employees who are willing and able, I think blood donation creates a loop of understanding about what we do at Michigan Blood. For me, it helps provide a better understanding of the donor experience, and I think it makes me a stronger advocate because I’m better educated about the process. I’ve also experienced the urgency and importance of donating for someone specific, which impacts my view. I know it could be my family someday that needs the HLA matched donor who is willing to take 1 hour of time to give.