Letter: S. Whidbey community steps up to donate blood


I’ve always been proud of being from South Whidbey. The way it comes together for people who are hurting, holds dances in the middle of the street in summertime and always feels like home.

I saw its generosity when I got cancer 10 years ago – the phone calls, letters, emails, hugs my parents got in the grocery store, prayers from what felt like every grain of sand on Double Bluff Beach. In my hometown, we love, we laugh, we hope and we lift up.

I’ve always known that Whidbey’s capacity to give was boundless, but then came the blood drive on Wednesday, March 12 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland, and I was simply blown away.

I work at Bloodworks Northwest now, a full circle kind of thing for the 267 units of blood they gave me. Coronavirus has upended our social habits and norms, but even worse, devastated our blood supply. Bloodworks CEO Curt Bailey said in a press release that “our blood supply is collapsing” and the fear and apprehension in the hallways at work was palpable.

We launched a media fusillade to get the word out that we needed donations immediately –

TV, radio, print, social media – the stakes and level of alert were higher than they’d ever been. For me, a cancer survivor, it was personal, so I did the best thing I could think of – I asked the people of South Whidbey for help.

South Whidbey Record Reporter Kira Erickson picked up the story and it ran on the front page of in the Wednesday, March 11 edition of the Record.

The following day, the aforementioned blood drive at Trinity Lutheran took place. Our goal for it was to collect 19 pints of blood. We got 41. Because that’s Whidbey, and that’s just what we do. I am prouder of my hometown than I perhaps have ever been, and I don’t know what to say other than thank you. People are recovering, alive and closer to their remissions today because of you.

If you are interested in donating, the next blood drive on Whidbey will be at the United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, sponsored by the Coupeville Lions Club, on Thursday, March 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, or visit www.bloodworksnw.org to schedule an appointment.

Bill Harper


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