I ripped off the Red Cross, but it was worth it

I was pleased to see this release this morning:

University of South Carolina Victorious in 27th Annual Blood Drive

Columbia, S.C. — Carolina and Clemson wrapped up their 27th annual blood drive Friday, Nov. 18, resulting in a four-year consecutive win for the University of South Carolina over Clemson University. The 2011 Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive took place on both campuses Nov. 14-18 with students and fans casting votes for their favorite team by donating blood.

This year’s event resulted in 7,120 donors presenting to give blood, with Carolina donors totaling 4,079 and Clemson donors totaling 3,041. The University of South Carolina will be awarded the coveted blood drive trophy at the Carolina-Clemson football game Nov. 26 at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive is held annually the week before the Carolina-Clemson football game. The drive comes at the start of the holiday season when the blood supply typically weakens. Over the past 26 years of competition, the universities have collected more than 90,000 units of blood, potentially saving more than 270,000 lives.

Eligible donors can still show their Gamecock or Tiger spirit and receive a commemorative Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive T-shirt by giving blood now through Nov. 27 at the following blood drives and at the American Red Cross Donation Center, 2751 Bull St., Columbia.

11/23 S.C. Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation 1410 Boston Ave. 9:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. West Columbia
11/23 Lowman Home 2101 Dutch Fork Road 11:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. White Rock
11/23 Aiken Mall 2441 Whiskey Road South 2:00 PM 7:00 PM Aiken
11/25 Aiken Mall 2441 Whiskey Road South 11:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Aiken
11/25 Dutch Square Center 421 Bush River Road 1:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. Columbia
11/23 Sumter Masonic Lodge 215 Alice Drive 1:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. Sumter
11/26 Sumter Mall 1057 Broad Street 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. Sumter
11/27 Corpus Christi Catholic Church 2350 Augusta Hwy. 9:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. Lexington

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Most healthy people age 17 and older, or 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet height and weight requirements. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information.


I was glad to see it because it made me feel a little better about what I did a couple of days ago…

A couple of weeks back, Mason Hardy — who was running the Columbia Rotary Club’s blood drive — gave me a long-sleeved T-shirt in anticipation of my giving blood later. I wasn’t going to be available the day of the actual drive (Nov. 1, the day I was busy with E.J. Dionne being in town), but I promised to do it later and let it count toward Rotary’s total. Mason gave me the shirt because he was worried he’d run out later.

It was a nice shirt — it’s the white one in the picture.

Of course, I promptly forgot to make an appointment to give. This happens, even to bloody Iron Men like me. But they hunted me down and called me to remind me, so I set the appointment, and showed up at 10 a.m. this past Thursday.

As I was signing in, the lady asked, “What size shirt?” I opened my mouth to say no, I already had mine, but then I saw how much nicer these shirts were. They were gray. I can’t explain it, but I have a weakness for gray T-shirts. And this one looked very tasteful.

“Large,” I said.

I clutched the acquisition guiltily to me as I went over to pretend to read that booklet of information I’ve read so many times before. I mean, I sort of read it. I looked to see that none of the headings had changed. I mean, I don’t care that my blood will be used in research. And I still have not spent more than three months in England or the Channel Islands between 1980 and 1996.

And I thought about all the reasons why it would be OK for me to keep this shirt. (It was too late to give the first one back, because I had warned it and washed it, so it was officially mine.) Such as:

I was giving double red cells, so that should be worth two shirts.

I had given many times without getting any kind of shirt.

OK, well, those are the only excuses I could think of.

The next day at lunch, I confessed to Lanier, Brian and Lora what I had done, and they told me it was OK; that I had done nothing wrong. Lanier even thought of another excuse: Every time I give, I write about it, and give the Red Cross all that publicity. So I had earned it.

True. But I couldn’t help thinking that when some addled drug addict commits a crime, his friends probably console him, saying things like, “You were doin’ that ol’ lady a favor, taking that heavy ol’ purse off her shoulder,” and “That liquor store was beggin’ to be robbed!”

I’m Catholic, you see, so you can’t say anything to make me feel totally OK about this. But still — I’m keeping the shirts. After all, a lot of Mafiosos are Catholic, too.

4 thoughts on “I ripped off the Red Cross, but it was worth it

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    I wish all these charitable organizations would stop handing out cheapo circes like t-shirts and pens. I want their resources to go to their missions and not beverage can koozies! I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those t-shirts and the ones my husband can’t refuse get put into Goodwill immediately. (The Red Cross is too picky to take my mad cow risk blood.)

    While I’m at it, I also don’t want any fancy newsletters and other four-color printed “literature” that goes straight into the recycling bin.

    …and if I receive more than one annual solicitation, I reconsider my donation.

  2. Nick Nielsen

    The Red Cross won’t take my blood. They find out I spent 9 years in Germany between 1980 and 1996, thank me politely, and show me the door. I’m slightly irritated by that; I gave blood 4 times a year throughout my military career and was a pint short of 5 gallons when the Red Cross said “No more.”

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Nick– I only lived in England for just less than a year in 1980-81. I ate virtually no beef–I suspect a casual business traveler would eat more in a week than I did. Nonetheless, I am barred. English-living vegetarians are barred.

    Chump don’t want help; chump don’t get help.

  4. Pingback: Give blood, get free stuff — and save lives | ADCO

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