Walks the walk

Bruce Van Dyke

Photo By D. Brian Burghart

The high-level Reno News & Review Tuesday editorial meeting went something like this. “What’d’ya mean, it’s my week to do 15 minutes? How ’bout I go down to United Blood Services ? Seems like I heard they were having trouble getting donors. SARS or West Nile Virus or something.” I head down to 1125 Terminal Way where the nurse is kind enough to ask a donor if he’d mind being interviewed for the newspaper. Oddly enough, there were no reservations. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Bruce Van Dyke is a radio boss jock on KTHX and a columnist for a famous weekly newspaper (see below).

What brought you in here today?

It’s a good way to get out of doing exercise for the rest of the day, and to feel good about blowing off any kind of workout.

Do you donate blood frequently?

I’m about a four-times-a-year man.

Do you know how much you’ve given in your life?

Edie just told me. This is Donation No. 20.

What’s your motivation for this, other than the not-exercising thing?

It’s the best way I can think of to get free popcorn and cranberry juice.

Can’t you say something nice about the kids and car-accident victims you’re helping, and that you haven’t been exposed to West Nile Virus?

OK. See this card here that says, “You’re our hero"? It’s the only place that I can come to and be informed that I’m being heroic. [Nurse hands Bruce a small package.] This is my two-gallon pin. How many pints is that?

Nurse: 16. Actually, though, you’re up to 20 now. Someone forgot to give him his two-gallon pin.

Is there anything that makes you think that now is a good time to give blood?

You can’t help but notice that the alerts from United Blood Services are coming out almost on a weekly basis about blood shortages. I’m familiar with the process, and I’m comfortable with it, so it’s no sweat for me to come in and donate. It’s also unfortunate that I can come in on a Tuesday afternoon and know that I can walk in and not have to wait at all. That’s the way it’s been the last 12 times I’ve been here. You’re in and out of here in 45 minutes.

What are some other factors that make this a good time to donate?

The number of people who donate in the summer drops way off. It’s funny, but summer is just conducive to eating sandwiches by the river and playing tennis. They really need people to come in during the summer.

What does O Negative mean to you?

O Negative means that I’ve got blood that just about anybody can use. So, I guess it’s versatile. O Negative means versatility of bodily fluids to me. It seems to carry a little weight. I’ll tell you, they really let me know that they want me in here four times a year.

Having less blood now, are you going to take advantage of lower oxygen levels in your brain?

Not a bad strategy, Brian. Especially combined with the fact that it’s $2 Tuesday at the Great Basin Brewery. I might walk on the wild side for a pint.