July 6, 2015
Damian Henderson is a Difference-Makerby CBCC
Difference-makers are born when someone believes that no action they take is too small to inspire change. Damian Henderson is a difference-maker.
Damian grew up with friends, family and coaches who instilled in him a deep desire to give back to his community. But it wasn’t until age 35, when Damian, a Patient Account Rep 2 and Team Lead at CMC-NorthEast, saw CBCC blood drive signs throughout his building and decided to give blood.
“It peaked my interest, so I decided to go down one day and donate. The main thing I was worried about was the needle stick – I’m not a big fan of needles – but once I got over that, I was fine,” he said. “Now, I guess you could say it’s a passion.”
Damian began donating every 56 days, each time he became eligible. In February, he learned he was a Sickle Cell Hero. This means Damian’s blood has specific elements that make him a compatible donor for sickle cell patients in our community. Sickle cell patients often need regular blood transfusions to keep their disease under control and manage pain, and the closer matched the blood they receive, the less likely their body will reject the transfusion. This is why Sickle Cell Heroes like Damien are an important part of our amazing donor community.
“It’s gratifying to know that I am a Sickle Cell Hero,” said Damian. “I love helping others, so I feel like I’m fulfilling my destiny. Giving blood back to the community is very fulfilling and rewarding.”
Damian remembers a high school classmate who passed away after battling sickle cell disease. He’s hopeful that through his blood donations and the donations of others, sickle cell patients will have a brighter outlook, which is why he’s quick to recruit others to donate blood. He has already inspired five of his team members at CMC-Northeast to become blood donors, and encourages close loved ones to become more involved in giving back to the community.
“I tell people they are saving lives – that there are less fortunate people who need blood to survive,” he said. “I try to give them a real-life perspective on why they should donate, and let them know that it actually does work.”