Washington Court House resident Michele McMurray was in the process of donating her sixth unit of blood Monday.
She has been actively donating blood every two months for the past year since she retired from Fayette Home Health Care Supply.
McMurray and 58 other donors were scheduled to give units of blood Monday with the Red Cross in central Ohio at Crossroads Christian Church in Washington C.H.
“Why do I give? I give because of my dad. My dad was an eight gallon donor before he was unable to donate,” said McMurray.
Sardinia resident Nathan Rios said he was on the Red Cross website recently looking for volunteer opportunities in the community when he saw the phone app for the Red Cross and downloaded it.
“I just kind of felt like donating today,” said Rios, who is active in the Army National Guard, as Red Cross technician Dasha Bryntseva monitored the blood collection.
Lisa Goble, a certified Red Cross instructor, was at the event Monday to give assistance with any questions the technicians might have about the work they were doing.
“For us, it’s hard for us to imagine that we’re saving lives. We’re really on the front burner of it. There is a video, Arm to Arm, that explains what happens from donor to recipient,” said Goble. “It puts it into perspective that we are a part of saving lives. Sometimes we have to step back and remember that we are a part of the life-saving process.”
Goble said she worked as a Red Cross technician before becoming an instructor, and said that not all technicians have backgrounds in phlebotomy and that the technicians who are trained to do the collections work have varied backgrounds in everything from medical assisting to military to food service.
The month of March is designated as “Red Cross Month” and “Giving Day” is March 28. Goble said hundreds of units of blood are needed each day to supply the hospitals.
Each blood donor gives one pint (unit) of blood per visit.
“Out of that one unit, we can possibly get three components: red blood cells, plasma and possibly platelets,” said Goble.
Goble said the Red Cross does not always collect platelets. “Platelets have a very short shelf life. We’re so far from our lab, we have to get platelets to the lab within eight hours, and processed.”
The central Red Cross’s lab is located in Columbus. Whole units of blood collected Monday were stored in portable Red Cross coolers. Goble said the units of blood can be stored up to 33 hours depending on the ice that is used to keep it cool. After Monday’s blood drive, a technician living in Columbus would drive the donations to the lab and process the blood at the lab.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into getting the blood from donors to recipients,” said Goble.
Across town, Fayette County Victim Witness Director Stefani Payton said a half dozen blood drives are scheduled throughout Fayette County in the coming weeks.
Payton said Victim Witness is hosting its own blood drive March 23 at the Fayette County Job and Family Services in room 213.
“Donating blood is important. It’s a community service that we don’t often think about. Victims of violent crime do need blood transfusions from time to time,” said Payton. Payton added that one person involved in a serious accident may require 100 units of blood. “We don’t think about how many donors’ blood it would take to save one person’s life.”
Payton said the blood drive March 23 is open to the public but encourages people to call 740-335-8033 to get scheduled.
Payton pointed out that according to the Red Cross, just 10 percent of the estimated 38 percent of Americans eligible to donate blood ever do.
Upcoming Red Cross blood drives scheduled across Fayette County may be located on the Red Cross’s website at www.redcross.org/give-blood.
The website lists the next earliest blood drive is on Monday, March 19 at Southern State Community College in Washington C.H.
Rios said he now checks the Red Cross app regularly to stay updated on local blood drives and plans to continue donating as much as he can — about every two months.
Goble said the Red Cross encourages people to stay updated on blood drives through the Red Cross app.
Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton and sending a message.