Blood Drive helps fill void

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2006

RICH SQUARE – When customers pulled into RBC Centura Bank on Main Street in Rich Square on Wednesday morning, they might have found the parking lot a little crowded.

A large white bus was parked in front of the bank, but Branch Manager Barbara Outland would say it was for a good reason, since the vehicle belonged to the American Red Cross.

The bank was holding its second blood drive on wheels, literally.

“To me it’s the greatest gift you can give this time of year,” said Outland.

Around this time the blood supply typically dips dangerously low around the country.

Laura Wynne, a donor specialist for the Mid-Atlantic Blood Region, said the reason for the lack in donations this time of year is because people are busy with the holidays and the demand for blood is up.

Wynne, who has been with the Red Cross for 18 years, said she has seen the difference in not only during seasonal lows, but also in donations in general.

“People just don’t take the time like they use to,” she said.

Wynne said not being able to go onto military bases has also hurt the blood supply.

“I would say we used to get 20 percent of the blood supply nationally from military bases,” Wynne said.

Outland said the mobile unit, which holds two health stations and five donor seats, is just the right size because it is self-contained.

“The Red Cross called and said they were in dire need of blood,” she said.

When Outland consented to have the blood drive the suggested goal was 30 pints, which is the maximum that the mobile can take during one drive.

“I think we’ll make the goal,” said Outland. “I think we only need nine more and we’ve been calling people.”

The process of giving blood involves four steps.

First the donor is asked to fill out a registration sheet, read up on donating and show proper ID.

Next a staff member will give the donor a health interview and a “mini” physical.

If the donor meets the health stipulations then he or she gives a donation, which takes about 10 minutes to give a pint of blood.

The final step urges the donor to relax for a few minutes and have some refreshments to help replenish the fluids in their body.

“We ask people to allow 45 minutes to give blood,” said Wynne.

Wynne said people can give one pint of blood every 56 days and each pint can help up to three people.

Most that turned out for the drive were looking to just help out.

“I might save someone’s life,” said Horace Allston of Rich Square.

Allston said that he tries to get out to donate when the Red Cross comes to the area. He estimated that he had been giving blood for at least 32 years.

“I was an EMT for seven years,” said Mike Vick, also from Rich Square. “I think it’s necessary to help other people.”

Vick coached first-time donor Jane Pruden of Roxobel by telling her to hold her arm up after the donation.

Pruden, who is a new employee at the bank, admitted she decided to donate after feeling a little peer pressure from her co-workers who had all donated.

“I didn’t want to feel left out,” said Pruden.

Even those who weren’t able to give blood volunteered their time to assist.

Students Katie Robins and Brittany Perry from Northeast Academy took time out of their winter vacation to register donors and hand out refreshments.

When it was confirmed the goal was met, those that participated in the RBC Centura blood drive may have helped 90 people all together.

“You never know when your life could be saved,” said Wynne. “You never know when you might need blood.”