Opinion: O Positive

Donating blood is impactful


Henry Pham

Opinion editor and social media manager Madeline Rivera holds a Red Cross blood donor form next to the arm she donated with. After her father’s life was saved by a blood transfusion, Rivera was motivated to participate in her school’s blood drive to give back.

November 6, 2020. That Friday changed my life forever. 

I sat in my bed after finishing my online assignments, cuddling close to my cat and staring at my phone displaying text messages with my father. 


The message, “Are you okay?” had been sent, following a stream of concerned texts since his final response at midnight. I anxiously picked the skin on my lip; this was unlike him. My father always sends good morning and good night texts to me, no matter how busy he is at work or how late he was out the night before.

That evening, my mother informed me of the news. My father had been involved in a life-threatening car accident at around 2 a.m. I had been the person he sent his last text message to before the incident. Horrified and filled with guilt, I was made aware that his injuries were extensive: a broken left femur, shattered pelvic bone and a fracture in his spinal cord were of the most notable. Thoughts flooded my head and left me wondering: if I would have sent a text to go home earlier, would it have prevented anything? Saved my father from these life-altering injuries? It was rough for me, to say the least.

As he was being transported to the hospital, my father suffered intense blood loss that required a blood transfusion, or he would die. His blood type, O positive, could only accept O positive and negative blood – options were limited as opposed to others with different, more versatile blood types. However, a stranger donated their blood and it was available to my father to perform the necessary procedure.

It saved his life and now, my father is able to spend holidays with me once more, see me graduate and watch me mature into a young adult – something that wouldn’t have been possible without that stranger’s pint of blood.

Upon hearing of a blood drive being hosted at school last month, I registered without hesitation. I have always had issues with needles and getting my blood drawn at the doctor’s office ever since I was a child, but I knew firsthand the impact that donating blood caused for individuals in need. 

Prior to my donation day, I made sure to eat plenty of iron-rich foods and drink a healthy amount of water. The thought of being denied to donate made me sick. I wanted to help somebody like that stranger who helped my father. I wanted to be the reason a family sighed with relief that their loved one was able to receive a blood transfusion to save their life. 

The day of, I was a nervous wreck. I was nearly denied due to a high heartbeat. “I’m nervous, sorry,” I said to the nurse checking my vitals. She only laughed and shook her head, making me feel at ease. She sat me on an elevated bed and began taking blood from me. I felt dizzy at one point and had to be laid down with a cold compress to my forehead, I thought I was going to faint. But, I still finished. I had to.

I’ll admit, I felt like I got hit by a brick after I left the gymnasium, but it was worth it. Knowing my blood would be used for a greater purpose, beyond myself, was indescribable. I felt as though I was paying back the universe for saving my father and contributing in my own special way. 

And an unexpected cherry to top it all off – I’m O positive. Just like my father.