COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Monday after the terrorist attack in Orlando, that left dozens dead and injured, the phones were ringing off the hook at our local American Red Cross. It was all people calling to donate blood.
Johnny Williams works for the local branch of the Red Cross and says this happens every time a national tragedy strikes. Whether it was Orlando, San Bernardino or 9-11 the Red Cross’ answer is always the same.
“Those victims need blood immediately so really the unsung heroes of many of the tragedies that have come our way are the people that gave blood the days and weeks prior to the event,” says Wlliams.
The nonprofit organization is responsible for supplying 40% of the nation’s blood. That is more than any other blood bank in the country! They collect blood from all over and it ends up in one central blood bank. The reason for that is because more lives are helped this way.
“The blood goes to a warehouse and anywhere in the nation if somebody needs a pint of blood, that’s not available at that hospital, we can actually overnight it to them…if we need to,” says Williams.
As the temps heat up supply typically lowers, but even more so this summer. Williams says their supply is lower, now, than this same time last year.
“That’s because high schools are where we get a lot of our blood during the year and schools are out during the summer and we don’t have them to dry from and people get more active and people seem to be more on vacation,” says Williams.
However, the chance of your blood ever getting to the victims in a mass tragedy, like the mass shooting in Orlando, are more likely if you make a habit out of giving regularly. Daniel Anderson has been doing just that for the last decade.
“I donate as much as I can… it’s easy and free.. it doesn’t cost me anything,” says Anderson.
Williams says hidden heroes like Anderson donate as a way to serve their fellow man. It’s also a chance to be part of something bigger than themselves.
“Blood is not manufactured anywhere..the only way it gets on the shelves is if someone like you or i step us and says here’s mine here take mine,” says Williams.
WRBL is partners with PMB Broadcasting and the Columbus Firefighter’s Association to give you one more opportunity to give. The Firecracker 100 blood drive is being held at the Columbus Fire Department’s training classroom on 3rd Avenue. Donors will receive a free lunch cooler. It runs from noon until 5p.m. If you would like to schedule an appointment click here.