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Published on December 17, 2019

Local health advocate faces fear to help others

Sarah Swain Blood Donation

Sarah Swain is a musician who’s performed on stage before hundreds of people. She founded Cape Wellness Collaborative, a nonprofit that has helped more than 700 Cape Cod residents with cancer. But giving blood for the first time? That was scary.

She tried to joke while filling out paperwork when the Cape Cod Healthcare blood mobile visited the Chatham Community Center recently.

“What’s making me nervous? The whole thing!”

She was kidding, kind of.

When Swain decided giving blood was important for the health of the community, she relied on peer pressure to get her to the blood mobile.

“I had to say it out loud and put it out on social media to make myself do it,” she said. “I’ve almost done it many times, but I always found a reason not to right before because I’m chicken.”

She brought along her son, Stanley, who’s an important part of this story.

“There are two reasons why I wanted to give blood,” she said. “One, I’m O-negative and everywhere I go I see signs that Cape Cod Healthcare is in need of O-negative blood. It was a good reminder that I should just do it.

“Second, when I had my son, Stanley, I needed blood transfusions. I always felt like I should repay the favor since people were so nice to give the blood that I needed. I wanted to do my part.

“Stanley’s forcing me to be brave. I want to show him that it’s a good thing to do.”

Like other donors when they arrive to give blood, Swain filled out forms about her health history and had her blood pressure, temperature and blood iron levels checked to make sure she was healthy enough to donate.

After she got the OK, she settled into a reclining chair. A nurse inserted the blood draw needle in her right arm.

“That was it?” Swain said. “We’re off to a good start. I thought I was going to scream, and I didn’t even feel it.”

She and Stanley chatted while a pint of blood was drawn from her arm.

About 10 minutes later, it was all done. From a selection of three bandage wraps for her arm (dinosaurs, bees or trucks), Stanley chose dinosaurs.

“I’m so psyched,” said Swain, as she rested for a few minutes post-donation. “I feel fine. I can’t believe I waited this long and I’m definitely going to do it again.”

Thinking about donating blood? For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood to help patients at Cape Cod Healthcare, call 508-86BLOOD or 508-862-5663. You can also sign up for the Blood Center email to receive news about upcoming blood drives and more.

Featured Image: Sarah Swain and her son, Stanley.