I love motorcycles about as much as Kanye likes talking about Kanye. Nothing quite like a great day on the bike. If you ride, you get it. Those that don’t ride will come close by driving a convertible, top down, on a beautiful sunny day. That comes as close as you’d get to what motorcyclists feel every day. My bike is my transportation, shrink, church, and personal amusement park. I don’t need to visit Six Flags. I’ve got my own – parked right outside my front door.
With that joy and thrill does come danger. Motorbikes are inherently unstable and don’t really offer much in personal protection. There are a lot of things that can go south quickly on a bike. An SUV suddenly turning left in front of you, leaving you to do your best Superman impression over the hood. Or maybe you come into a turn too hot. When your ticket gets punched, count yourself lucky to get back on. Some don’t. Some can’t.
I’ve had my ticket punched twice so far. The first time was my fault. I was a new rider and I hadn’t come anywhere close to mastering balancing throttle and clutch from a stop. I unceremoniously dumped my Honda Shadow on my right foot on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning about a week after I got the bike. The second time landed me in the hospital for a week with broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung. Wearing good gear kept the injuries from being much worse.
Fortunately, I didn’t wind up with road rash or needing any blood transfusions either time. Others may not be as lucky and may require transfusions. If you haven’t given blood before, consider the following few reasons to help your biker brothers and sisters in a serious time of need.
It Saves Lives
Despite whatever fiction was on the show True Blood, real blood can’t be created. It has to be donated by another human. A single blood donation can save up to three lives. A whole blood donation can be separated into red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Ideally, those products can be transfused into different patients and can result in saving up to three lives under certain circumstances. That’s not a joke or a typo.
Someone in the community requires blood every 90 seconds. Every 90 seconds. It takes nearly 1,000 donors every day to support that demand.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often need a lot of blood products. That’s not something you’ll hear about on the evening news. More than one million people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and all of us know someone that’s had or is currently going through a battle with cancer. I personally lost my maternal grandfather to lung cancer. Much like having a bike accident, some make it through, some have to live with the scars, and some don’t make it. Your blood donation can help make the difference.
It Helps the Motorcycle Community
The motorcycle community loves to help its own. It’s no secret that we’re big on charity rides for different causes. Bikers Against Child Abuse, Patriot Riders, Ride to the Wall, and Ride For Kids are just a few of them. There are rides for local causes in every area. We often have charity rides for fallen riders here in Dallas. I’m sure it’s the same where you are too. Let’s take it one step further. Let’s not just give our dollars, time, thoughts, and prayers. Let’s give life.
One thing we’ve done in the Dallas area is schedule a Carter BloodCare blood drive during our Thursday night bike nights. Carter BloodCare has a mobile bus that parks off to one side of the Kawasaki dealership where we have our bike nights. Folks can sign up beforehand, or just walk in at bike night. We’ve had a good response so far, and the concerns of “I can’t get on the bike after I donate” are unfounded. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball…if you can drive a car after you donate, you can ride a motorcycle.
It’s an Easy Way to Help
Those that have donated blood before know it’s a pretty straightforward process. Registration / sign-up, medical history questions, donation, and refreshments/snacks. The entire process takes maybe 30-45 minutes. Even for the busiest of us, that’s not a long time.
The average person doesn’t donate because they “didn’t know there was a need.” Those that ride and are tuned-in to the motor community know about the need. We often see news about a rider that went down. I see it on my Facebook groups daily. We can say we didn’t help, but we can’t say we didn’t know.
Another reason some people do not want to give is because they are “afraid of needles.” Every serious rider I’ve ever met is made of pretty stern stuff. Not that they are a walking John Wayne stereotype, but they are resilient. Being afraid of a small needle when saving someone else’s life just isn’t in the cards.
I entered the motorcycling world later than some. I was 28 when I started riding. I was and am still often overwhelmed by the camaraderie and generosity of the motorcycle community. I can walk into a pub or cafe anywhere in the world wearing motor gear, and I’m among friends. As a community, we can do more than we’ve done. Let’s incorporate giving blood to our bike nights and charity rides. The person you help may be the person you ride beside. The person you help may be yourself. Give today. Give for life.
Jason Channell is the Digital Marketing Manager at The Infinite Agency and has been a rider since 2011.