You Don’t Need Superpowers To Be A Superhero!

It is not just superheroes with capes or doctors in white coats who save lives. In Arlington, everyday people with extraordinary hearts save lives selflessly by donating blood. Without seeking compensation or standing ovation, donors at the Arlington, VA, blood drive voluntarily registered to go through the needles to share the gift of life and give hope to patients in need of blood. I was thrilled and honored to volunteer in this noble activity a few months ago.

The drive, one of many in the inspiring 27-year-old relationship between the American Red Cross and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS), had birthed almost 37,000 church-sponsored blood drives and contributed 1.1 million units as of July 2023. I and five other volunteers helped check in registered donors, assign numbers and name tags, and manage the queue on a first-come, first-served basis with strict adherence to the donation schedule and instructions from the American Red Cross Team Lead.

Bound by a common purpose of giving the gift of life, donors from diverse races, generations, and religions share a part of themselves with patients whom they may never know and who may not share the same belief or race as them, unconsciously breaking down barriers that often divide us. I believe this generous and simple act depicts the universal language of compassion and love and how little acts of kindness can have profound impact on individuals, families, communities, and the world. 

I could feel the palpable sense of purpose that enveloped the room as we welcomed and checked in donors, both old-timers and newbies, and one after the other, they walked to the black adjustable hospital bed with a book, magazine, or phone to keep them distracted throughout the process. The six skilled Red Cross staff warmly guided each donor through the procedure, started the process, and checked on them occasionally while music played gently in the background as the room buzzed with activities. 

The church holds blood drives four times a year. As I carefully scanned the list to confirm donors, I noticed an individual who was on his 129th donation. Going by this, the individual has been donating blood for 32 years, saving over 100 lives! I was both stunned and inspired! This commitment re-echoes a belief I have that there is always something to give if we look around and within! Among the heartwarming stories was that of a couple who were beneficiaries of blood donation that saved one of the partner’s life when he was on the brink of death. This inspired the family to give back by donating to save another life. The reasons for donating differ; for some, it is personal, and for others, it is a social act of generosity. Elsewhere, some may donate when a loved one is in need or for money or gifts; whatever the reason(s), every drop of blood donated gives someone a chance to live and a family more time to spend with their loved one. For the Arlington givers, however, it transcends duty; it is about being their brother’s keeper. This art of giving requires love, compassion, courage, and sacrifice, inviting individuals to contribute to a cause greater than themselves.

The success of this noble journey of saving lives is hinged on the collective efforts and commitment of donors, the LDS Church, the American Red Cross, and volunteers. None of these groups could have achieved it single-handedly without the other. The world is a small place, no one is an island, and everyone’s survival is inherently connected to one another. You do not need superpowers to be a superhero; show up for someone in any little way you can, when you can, and as often as you can. I left the venue that day feeling inspired and fulfilled and with these words on the top of my mind: Look around and within – Whether saving a life or bringing a smile to someone’s face, contribute to making the world a better place for someone in need.