text by Bloodbank Project Intern Josh Holloway

One of the purposes of the “Bloodbank” initiative is to boost social capital by strengthening societal support structures. Interviews are currently being conducted in our Clocktower incubator space and willing participants can express their thoughts and insights on blood and their experiences blood giving.

One of the exciting aspects of the project is the variety of people who chime in on the subject of blood. We ask members of the community from a wide range of ages, from all ethnicities and genders “what is their blood worth?”

For some participants, blood serves only biological needs. A young girl explains how “everyone runs on blood.” Another interviewer described blood as her “life source.” One anemic woman spoke about her experience receiving six pints of blood “and had (she) not received that blood (she’d) be gone.” Beyond the biological importance of one of the most sought after substances in the human body, blood has spiritual and figurative implications.

“My blood is full of happiness,” said a young interviewer when asked about her thoughts on blood. The young girl gives an insightful interpretation, drawing a connection between the feeling of happiness and of blood—essentially having blood, assumingly an abundance of it, is reassuring, comforting and euphoric.

A young man was confident that his blood was comprised of more than just cells, explaining that “in (his) blood is what (his) grandfather taught (him).” Jonathan, a dancer, is sure that “dance is in his blood.” It seems that people internalize life passions through the concept of blood. Participants seem to put a value on blood, which is the goal of the project.

By raising awareness on blood giving, it strengthens communities and the ties between the people in communities. Jonathan, the interviewer with “dance in (his) blood,” explains that “(blood giving) unifies us and brings us back to humanity.” Being able to count on one’s community for support is the idea of social capital.

“The divine value of giving blood is (that) you are sharing what god has blessed you with. Sharing gives life to other people—hope to other people,” said an elderly man during his interview. Help from the community generates hope within the people. In the words of the elderly interviewer, “keep giving and keep living…”