For Phil Chivers, inspiring and educating others about giving blood is just as rewarding as knowing that his donations are going to patients in need. Chivers, a longtime blood donation advocate, has informed our community by serving as councilman on the former Carter BloodCare Donor Council, a volunteer at several university blood drives, and a keynote speaker at Carter BloodCare’s main campus.
Whether he’s speaking to a group or one on one with a potential donor, Phil opens the conversation by talking about his first-time donating blood in 1985 while living in Illinois. Today, he’s a 59-gallon donor and has been giving platelets, plasma and white blood cells with Carter BloodCare since moving to Texas in 1990.
In 2001, Phil learned that a close friend’s daughter had cancer. While she was undergoing treatment, Phil donated platelets for the first time and directed his donations to her at the Children’s Medical Center Plano. Phil’s voice softens with sadness as he says that his friend’s daughter lost her battle with cancer. Since then, he has continued to donate platelets, and he still directs all of his donations to the pediatric ward of the Children’s Medical Center Plano in her honor.
Phil says that once people hear his story, they usually want to know what their first time giving blood will be like. To educate new donors, he offers two tips.
First, he says that people should identify themselves as first-time donors when they arrive at the donor center. The Carter BloodCare team members are there to make the process as comfortable and easy as possible, and when they know someone is a new donor, they’ll know exactly how to help them relax.
Phil also believes that following the recommended guidelines before giving blood is the best way to prepare. Carter BloodCare suggests eating a hearty meal the night before your donation and drinking extra water in the 24 hours leading up to it. The day of your donation, eat a well-balanced meal two hours prior, and remember to stay hydrated throughout the day. When donors follow these steps, Phil said the first blood donation is easy. It’s expert advice coming from someone who has donated 22 times this year!