Carrying On a Legacy of Life-Saving Generosity
For Kirsten Riege, the journey into the world of blood donation began with her father, a man who embodied the spirit of generosity and selflessness.
Kirsten's father was a universal blood donor whose blood could be given to patients of any blood type. He selflessly donated blood on a regular basis, a dedication that proved invaluable when his contributions helped save the lives of six patients involved in a major accident. His legacy was marked not only by the number of lives he touched but by the compassion and hope he brought to those in dire situations.
Kirsten's father was later diagnosed with cancer. Amid the challenges of battling the illness, one of his deepest regrets was that he could no longer continue to donate blood. The desire to honor her father ignited a spark in Kirsten, leading her to carry on the mission of spreading awareness about the critical importance of blood donation.
In July 2022, Kirsten took her first step in continuing her father's legacy by hosting her first blood drive. Her motivation was not only to honor her father's memory but to create an opportunity for her colleagues, friends, and neighbors to make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need. "It's an honor to be involved in something that affects so many people. We don't know who will benefit, but we know there will be many lives impacted," shared Kirsten, her words echoing the very essence of the act of donating blood.
Drawing from her experiences and heartfelt commitment, Kirsten offers three key insights to ensure the success of a blood drive:
1. Make it Fun: Infuse creativity and excitement into the blood drive by incorporating different themes, such as holidays or blood types. A touch of fun can make the act of giving even more rewarding and memorable.
2. Develop Personal Connections: Share your own story about the significance of blood donation. Ask donors if they know their blood type, and whether they know anyone whose life has been saved by blood donation. Kirsten's personal experience of losing her first husband due to internal bleeding during a surgery adds a deeply personal touch, making the cause relatable and meaningful for both her and those around her.
3. Educate: Empower donors with information about blood usage and the impact of their contributions. Knowing how their generosity directly translates into saving lives can be a powerful motivator.
Kirsten's dedication goes beyond hosting blood drives. She is actively engaged in educating her community and colleagues about the invaluable gift of giving blood. By doing so, she ensures that her father's legacy lives on, not only in the lives he directly impacted but in the ripple effect of kindness and hope he has set in motion.