Gena Owens was a teenager in May, 2012, when her father was gravely injured in a four-wheeler accident. He made a full recovery, thanks to skilled medical care – and the generosity of strangers.
Gena’s father needed eight units of blood, which were supplied through Marsh Regional Blood Center. Knowing that, Gena decided to pay the blessing forward.
Since then, she’s been a committed blood donor who also encourages her family and friends to give – she tells them they never know whose life they may save.
My name is Gena Owens and on May 27, 2012, my life changed.
My dad had gone missing at around 6 p.m. We were all panicked; Dad usually came home by then after drying off his four-wheeler. My neighbor and I went looking for him after my mother asked us to. We found him not too far from my house, lying in a creek; he had wrecked his four-wheeler. He had multiple injuries and had lost most of his blood by the time he got to the hospital. He required blood when he got there and received eight units.
About a year after that, I decided I needed to give back, to do something greater than myself, to change others' lives like they had done to my dad. I decided to donate blood.
At first I was scared - I'm a bit afraid of needles, but the nurses reassured me everything was going to be OK. I gave blood, and it felt amazing to be doing something good, to give back. But I didn't tell my family about my random act of kindness. This is just kind things you can do for another human being; it doesn't need to be recognized, just felt by your heart.
After that first time, no one knew, but my mom found out on accident. You receive a shirt for donating , and, well, I forgot about it when I threw it in the laundry for it to be washed. My mom never asked me why I did it, or who I did it for. She just knew I was doing something good.
After seeing the shirt and realizing what I had done, she decided to try to donate. My mom is anemic and has a very hard time getting her iron high enough to donate, but when it's up enough, she tries. I've convinced my friends and other family members to try to donate. I've tried to donate six times, but have actually donated three.
It can't hurt to try. Everyone on this planet can try at something, but only a few are willing to keep trying until they can. Someone gave blood, and it saved my dad's life, and if I can give blood and save someone else's, then that's alright. I'm doing a kindness to the people who need blood, and their families. Life is a gift, and nobody should have to have their family know they might not get to have that gift anymore.
I want to persuade you to be a hero and save a life. You don't need super powers or have all these cool gadgets to be a hero. All you need is some time and blood.
I had someone save my dad's life, a complete stranger - if it had not been for their donation, I wouldn't have a father to celebrate Father's Day with (which in 2012 he spent in the hospital). Someone was gracious enough to give their blood, the fluid to keep people alive. I'm thankful every day for the gift that was given to my family, and possibly by eight different people.
When a blood drive comes up in your community, go try to donate. It could be someone in your family who needs it. As someone told me, "An act of kindness is not meant to be repaid; it is meant to be passed on."
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