Reporter Gina Bourdage Overcomes Her Fear Of Needles To Donate Blood

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Story by Gina Bourdage
Photos by Michael Brunk

Being what has been described to me as “entertainingly scared of needles,” you might not assume that I would be a likely volunteer for a blood drive.

However my friends, you’d be wrong.

Ignoring my phobia and doing something for the greater good, I made the decision a year ago to donate blood to help overcome my fear of shots, needles, and the general gagging at the sight of blood. When I heard the city of Burien was holding a blood drive I stepped up again (against a nagging fear) and showed up to donate Monday, Jan. 25th.

Now for anyone who knows what the fear of needles is like, it is far less about the idea it might be painful and more focused on a needle protruding from your arm extracting the inner workings of your circulatory system for any given amount of time. Taking a deep breath and suppressing that image is the first step in getting past that disturbing thought. I would suggest chatting with the staff or bringing an iPod to relax your mind. The blood center guys (and gals) know what they are doing and are very reassuring if you just let them know that you are not a fan of needles.

The process starts with a general questionnaire, a short interview and a small finger prick before it’s off to the donation table. While lying down on a cot like bed you will be walked through the process and instructed where to hold your arm, given a squeezy stress toy (I believe that’s the medical term for that piece of equipment) and then poked with the extremely small needle. (Us ‘scarredie cats’ pictured this needle to be at least eight inches and the girth of a drinking straw… whew, this is one instance I am ecstatic to be wrong.)

Once the actual donation process started I was informed it would only take about ten minutes or so. Let the countdown to cookies and juice begin! It’s over quicker than it started and I barely felt a thing. Not only did I get some sweet snacks I got a bragging sticker that I donated blood, which I wore with pride.
I feel that I can safely say that most of us know someone or will be in need ourselves one day of blood. Wouldn’t you like to know that a total stranger had the compassion enough to spend their lunch break making sure the supply would be available? Statistics show that every minute of every day someone needs blood. Donation is the only answer. Currently only 3 out of every 100 people in America Donate blood, according to the Red Cross’ website.

If I can do it anyone can donate blood. To learn more or to make an appointment visit the Puget Sound Blood Center Website at or call 800-398-7888.

Here’s Michael Brunk’s Photo Slideshow of Gina’s brave experience:

Click to View Michael Brunk’s Photo Slideshow

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2 Responses to “Reporter Gina Bourdage Overcomes Her Fear Of Needles To Donate Blood”
  1. Becky says:

    The Burien Blood Drive!
    Another thing to add to Gina’s article is that there was a Chiropractic and Massage clinic offering a complimentary spinal evaluation and free 5 minute massages for those who donated! It was great to be rewarded, in addition to the cookies. Optimal health Spine and Wellness will be having their own Blood Drive too next month 2/15 so if you didn;t give blood this month please do so next month, there will be treats from local businesses and restaurants as well!

  2. Gina B says:

    Oh man I missed that!? Shoot darn, I didn’t see anyone giving massages but it could have been that my needle issues were blocking my vision at that time. Good luck on your drive!

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