Paul, Donor

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As a former police officer and now as emergency assistance coordinator for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri, Paul Kim has dedicated his life to serving people. What he has learned through the years is that it's the small things that count.

These days, Paul works mostly with homeless men. He helps make sure they have food and clothing, a phone for longdistance calls, a restroom and water fountain, foulweather shelter for a few hours. Twice a year, he organizes a food drive.

Every day, people come in here that I don't know and needing help with what to us is a very small matter, maybe a pair of socks or sweatshirt for the cold weather,” he says. “I'm giving away things people don't want, but to the people who receive them, they're very important.”

A small matter. Small things. A pair of socks. A sweatshirt. A pint of blood.

To Paul, a pint of blood donated is a small thing, but he knows that, to the person who receives it, it could be a matter of life and death.

He has been donating since his college days when he realized that he had a great life and that with a great life comes great sacrifice.

“It's a way to save lives,” he says. “How can anyone dislike saving lives? It doesn't take much time, and it's my responsibility to share. I don't mind dropping a pint of blood. Besides, I'm O+, so just about anybody can use it.”

Paul's own experience with lifethreatening situations has helped form his commitment to giving. As a police officer, he was wounded, but it wasn't his own injury that affected him as much as the wounds sustained by two other officers in the same shootout and the perpetrator who was hit three times. He was found the next day, still alive but having lost a great deal of blood.

“It doesn't take a lot of time to save a life, but it doesn't take a lot of time for someone to lose a life, either,” he says. The life you save more than likely won't be anyone you know, but that life you're saving is someone's mother or father or son or daughter or friend. Every one of us is important to somebody.”

As a husband and father, as well as an emergency assistance coordinator, actor and aspiring novelist, Paul leads a busy life. But it's not busy enough to keep him from donating blood.

“You have to remember,” he says, “in a fraction of the time it takes to give a pint of blood, someone could die. You can be the buffer that keeps someone alive.”

Please share your experience as a blood donor or transfusion recipient.