-

Donor Rickey Mitchell, left, prepares to give blood while working with Phlebotomists Amanda Williams.

Emporia’s Community First Presbyterian Church hosted a blood drive last week.

Local resident and blood donor Rickey Mitchell was ready to give. Mitchell has given about eight gallons of blood over the years. “I don’t have a story to tell,” he said. “There are many ways of giving and this is one of mine, to help people that may need blood.”

Every two second someone in the U. S. needs blood. Accident and burn victims heart surgery and organ transplant patients and those receiving treatment for leukemia cancer or sickle cell disease may also need blood. Barry Grizzard was there donating blood. Grizzard was first motivated to give blood when the need hit close to home. His father Mark Grizzard was diagnosed with leukemia and needed more than 140 pints of blood transfusions.

“We were told my dad would live for six months however, he lived for two years,” he said. “It’s my way of giving back to ensure no patients goes without.” The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2600 hospitals nationwide.

“We need new blood,” Said Donnie Clements American Red Cross Coordinator. ”As much as we appreciate those that do come out regularly and participate in such a great cause, we don’t see many millennials,” he noted.

Previous generations have formed a habit to give blood. 60 percent of blood donations in the U.S. are from individuals who are over the age of 40. The younger generation doesn’t seem to be following in the older generation’s footsteps.

However, the millennials seem to thrive on being able to share their experiences with as many people as they can as quickly as possible. Social media provides this opportunity. Clever slogans, memes, hashtag and “checking in” could all be used to gain fresh recruits. If reaching and retaining this generation becomes successful the benefit would be a secure blood supply for many years to come. Millennials need to be made aware that there is a demand, and they are able to supply that demand. What would happen if everyone eligible to donate decided they didn’t want to give assuming someone else would.

We would face a public health care crisis. While many advances have been made in the health care arena one thing that has yet to be accomplished is being able to artificially make blood. It’s only through generous blood donors that this need is met. To avoid a shortage let’s consider three fact about blood and blood donation. Blood is essential for tracing chronic illnesses surgeries and traumatic injuries. Giving blood is easier thank you think and it can save up to three lives. Step up so that we have ample blood supply.

Blood donors of all types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. You will need a drivers license or a blood donor card or two other forms of identification are required at check in.

You could also schedule an appointment online by visiting RedCrossBlood.org. Are you one who may be afraid of needles? No worries. There are plenty of volunteers who are there to help distract you and help calm your nerves. They also provide free snacks to help with the aftermath. How does a person know if they are eligible to give blood? There will do a mini physical this would include pulse reading, Iron level and a list of questions.

It was Jane Myrick’s first time in a while to give blood. She’s been working on her iron levels and today she was successful.

“The feeling of donating blood and knowing that your are saving a life is humbling,” said Myrick. Imagine your blood saving a life. Who knows one day you could be the recipient praying for other kind people to donate help save your life. Rolling up a sleeve and enduring the fear of a needle for five to ten minutes is going to make a huge impact in someone’s life. The American Red Cross shelters feed and provide emotional support to victims of disaster supplies about 40 percent of the nations’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid and supports military members and their families.

The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the american public to perform its mission.

The next blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 25 from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, please visit RedCross.org.