By January Elizabeth
American Red Cross
Everyone donates blood for their own reasons, but all for the same purpose of helping others and saving save lives. Approximately every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a transfusion, and donors are the only source of needed blood and platelets.
At a recent American Red Cross Blood Drive for employees of TVH Parts Co., in Olathe, Kan., there were many donors with stories about why they were eager to give. TVH is one of many companies that work with the Red Cross to set up blood drives in its Western Missouri Region.
Recognizing the importance of blood donations, Lucy Delsarto organizes a blood drive at TVH three times a year. Lucy, who is also a blood donor, said the employees are passionate and faithful about donating blood.
Another employee, Pamela Semikashey, was celebrating her birthday by donating blood to the Red Cross. She said it’s especially important for her to give because she has a rare blood type and feels that those in need would have a harder time receiving blood without her donations.
The Red Cross collects, processes and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect nearly 14,000 units of blood to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. The recipients may be accident victims, cancer patients, surgical candidates, or children with blood disorders.
While the Red Cross is grateful for the generosity of the donors, there remains a crucial demand that must be met.
“As the old saying goes, the need is always constant,” said Joe Zydlo, a Red Cross Blood Services spokesman. “We always are looking for new donors to help us with our lifesaving mission. I don’t think you can ever have too many.”
TVH employee Kim Deffenbaugh, a 20-year donor with an O-positive blood type, qualified to be a “Power Red Donor.” Power Red is done with the help of an apheresis machine, which collects the red cells and returns most of the plasma and platelets back to the donor.
Red cells are the most transfused blood component, and certain blood types are often in short supply. Power Red donors can safely give up two units of blood at a time, making their donation go further.
Maddysson Wood is 19 years old and started donating blood to the Red Cross while in high school. She continues to be a faithful donor and plans to be for life.
“I feel healthy and I want to help those who are not. It is a simple process and takes little time,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you donate?”
David Comb is a TVH employee and former law enforcement officer who has seen first-hand in both his personal and professional lives how blood donations save lives.
He became a blood donor three years ago, after a family member was in a critical accident, sustaining burns over 40 percent of his body and requiring 80 units of blood. David said the experience prompted him and other family members to donate.
Donating blood to the Red Cross can take less than an hour from start to finish.
Donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass to save time when donating.
To view a video of blood donations at TVH go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP9k83a9X0A