Friday, November 8, 2013

Best. Pick-up Line. Ever.

 When asked how her first training session to be an English tutor went, my friend Cathi – then a college sophomore – told her mom it was fine, but added, “I have to work with this totally loud and obnoxious guy though.”

A week or so later, Cathi ran into Albro – Mr. Loud and Obnoxious – at a fraternity party and the two spoke briefly. While Cathi still felt he was rather loud, she was able to move past her initial assessment of him as obnoxious. Then Albro moved in for the kill: “Do you want to work on the UCLA Blood Drive Committee with me?” he asked, explaining that he was chairing it. 

Albro had donated blood regularly ever since one of his high school teachers, Mr. Poe, called it a “valiant act” and explained how it saved lives. Knowing that his father had died while on a search and rescue mission during the Vietnam War, Albro decided to follow his dad’s example of saving lives, and he chose blood donation as his vehicle.

Cathi and Albro, 1981
Cathi agreed to help Albro with the UCLA blood drive, which allowed him to secure her phone number, setting in motion a series of events that neither could fully appreciate at the time. 

But what Cathi neglected to share with Albro was how utterly terrified she was to give blood herself. A year earlier she had participated in her dorm’s blood drive, which had resulted in severe chills, vomiting, and two hours of post-donation oversight by the blood drive’s attending nurse. While lying on a stretcher off to the side, Cathi overheard another student ask, “Is she going to die?” After that experience, Cathi decided there was no way she would ever subject herself to another blood donation needle. 

Until 30 years later, that is, when Albro told his family – his daughter Neva, three sons Albro IV, Ian, and Alden, and wife Cathi – that the only gift he wanted for Christmas that year was for the family to go to the local blood center and donate together. And so they did. The three eligible children were not at all nervous, as they had each already taken the initiative to become blood donors on their own. Cathi, however, steeled herself for her second donation attempt ever, and after one failed try with her right arm, she was – fortunately – successful with the left.

As for Albro, with the exception of being deferred following a few surgeries and some international travel, he has donated blood consistently for 36 years – wherever he can and with whomever he can: the Red Cross, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, and church blood drives. And while his loudness has been tempered (slightly) with age, he can still frequently be overheard promoting the merits of blood donation to others.

Soon, Cathi and Albro will celebrate 30 years of marriage thanks to the best pick-up line ever. At America’s Blood Centers, we like to say It’s About Life. But sometimes, it’s about love

The Lundy Family: Cathi, Neva, Albro IV, Albro III, Ian, Buddy Blood Drop, and Alden
(editor's note: Evidence suggests that Buddy is not actually part of the Lundy Family)

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Download a PDF of the first 4 chapters of Lauren's memoir, Zuzu's Petals: A True Story of Second Chances, free.  Click here and go to the link below the "Buy the Book" button.  Zuzu's Petals is also available on Kindle and Nook.  Hardcover signed and inscribed copies are available at Happy reading!