What does this pin mean?
This Red Cross blood donor pin resembles those I have received upon completion of a gallon's worth of blood donations (8 one-pint donations). I currently wear my 7 gallon pin, which I received after my most recent donation. Each time I earn another pin, the previous pin gets "retired" to my pin case, where I also keep my collection of Olympic pins.
I first gave blood during my first year of college, after much prodding from my friend and classmate, Karl McWherter. Karl had started donating blood while still in high school and talked me into giving it a try when the Red Cross Bloodmobile came to campus, which it did every couple months. I finally gave in, rolled up my sleeve, and let them suck a pint from my vein. It took about 15 minutes, and while the needle didn't thrill me, I didn't pass out, get sick, or die, so after that I had no excuse not to donate again.
In recent years I have become a more regular donor, with an ongoing goal of donating at least four times a year. At that rate, I will reach total donations of 20 gallons before I turn 65!
Find out more about blood donation from the American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, or find the Red Cross organization in your country through the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.