Bold for Blood: The Repurposed Journalist

Posted: September 10, 2018 in employment

Bold for Blood

The idea behind “Bold for Blood” was simple enough. Donate a pint of blood, take a picture with a #BoldforBlood sign, challenge three friends to donate. Post it on social media. Done. But it wasn’t that easy.

B4B John Yeager Picture1

John Yeager – Bloodworks Northwest

When I came in July 24th to donate at the Central Donation Center on Seattle’s First Hill, my blood pressure was too high. They call it white lab coat syndrome, defined as “exhibiting heightened blood pressure in a clinical setting.” But the next day, it was back to normal. My phlebotomist, Jeffrey Rhubottom had calmed me right down. Within a few minutes, the donation was done. I had the picture taken, issued the challenge to three friends and posted it to social media.

This might be a good time to tell you that I used to be a TV news reporter for KIRO 7, KCTS 9 Seattle Channel, KCTV and KCPQ13 here in Seattle. In the two decades I spent as a journalist, I was lucky enough to win more than 30 national, regional and local awards for excellence in journalism including 17 Emmys. In that time you meet a lot of people so that’s the community of friends from which I decided to appeal. Within a few hours of my donation, a former Q13 colleague, Harry Higgins had accepted my challenge and made an appointment to donate. A couple of days later, long-time donor and reporter Denise Whitaker from KOMO 4 TV accepted the #Bold for Blood challenge.

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Harry Higgins Former Q13 News Photographer

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Denise Whitaker KOMO (left) Ron Lim Bloodworks NW (right)

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John Fisher The Sound 94.1 FM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, another friend, radio announcer John Fisher from The Sound 94.1FM accepted the challenge. I was there with him when he came in and donated. He was in and out in 45 minutes. #BoldforBlood was designed to respond the shortage of blood that centers like Bloodworks Northwest encounter every summer. This campaign for blood surprised me, in a good way. It became personal. I realized when John was sitting there getting a needle stuck in his arm, he did it because I asked him to do it. He told me he was “uncomfortable” around needles. Tryphanophobia, they call it, the fear of needles. But he overcame that because he was thinking to something bigger than himself and because a friend had asked him to do it.

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Marc Nowak – Aegis Living

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Gregg Hersholt – KOMO NewsRadio

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Yeager & Eric Riddle KING 5 “Evening Magazine”

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of days later, Aegis Living’s radio voice Marc Nowak accepted my challenge. Then another former KIRO colleague Gregg Hersholt, now the morning drive host for KOMO News Radio stepped up. Then another colleague, KING 5 Evening Magazine producer Eric Riddle rolled up his sleeve and made a donation. “That was some guilt trip you laid on me, Yeager,” he joked.

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Chris Cashman – KING 5 “Take Five”

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Chris Cashman – KING 5 “Take Five”

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Brian Callanan – Seattle Channel & Phlebotomist, Jeffrey Rhubottom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporter Chris Cashman from KING 5’s “Take Five” show, who’d done work with my daughter, Kate on KING 5’s “The 206”, also accepted my challenge. Chris did a humorous and compelling first-person story on how easy his donation was despite his trypanophobia. He in turn, challenged KING 5 morning news anchor Mark Wright who I’d worked with at Q13.

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Mark Wright – KING 5 Anchor/Reporter

The next day, another former Q13 colleague, Seattle Channel’s Brian Callanan said yes and came in to donate. On September 4th, KING 5’s Mark Wright answered Chris Cashman’s challenge and donated his pint. In almost every instance, I was able to be on hand when they donated. It’s a humbling feeling watching your friends and former colleagues get a needle stuck in the arm for a cause you asked them to embrace. But with #BoldforBlood that’s exactly what happened.

It’s a challenging time for journalists today. Many feel under attack by people from all over the political spectrum on every level. “Fake news,” is the rallying cry among the haters. Journalists are yelled at, threatened and in some cases even killed simply for trying to report the facts. That’s disturbingly short-sighted and alarmingly misguided. Because I can testify that what I saw in the past four weeks was a genuine willingness to do something to make our community better and answer the call to replenish our blood supply. In instance after instance, I saw journalists and broadcasters take a few minutes out of their day, overcome their white lab syndrome, their trypanophobia and roll up their sleeves to literally Be Bold for Blood. Nothing fake about this news. Real blood. Real people who simply answered a challenge.

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Brian Callanan – Seattle Channel

So how bold are you? All you have to do is book an appointment, challenge three people you know to donate and post the picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Done. See who shows up. It might just surprise you. But it’s got to start with you. Help make a positive difference.

 

 

 

 

John Yeager is Bloodworks Northwest’s Senior Media Content Strategist

 

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