News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 12, 2011

Donors remember times of need as they let the ‘red’ flow

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The music floating about Fairbanks Park was serene, but inside the air-conditioned RV nearby, the blood was pumping.

The Indiana Blood Center had a line of potential donors Sunday evening amid the Wabash Valley 9/11 Memorial Event at Fairbanks Park. Spokeswoman Shelly Shearer said the group hoped to get 24 units donated that evening.

“And I don’t think we’re going to have a problem,” she said as volunteers stood outside the bloodmobile.

Blood centers across the state hosted donation drives all weekend in commemoration of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. The need for blood is constant, she said, but in times of emergency the demand increases rapidly.

“During a time of tragedy, blood collection is very important,” she said, explaining one unit of blood can save three separate lives.

Chad White, a supervisor with the Indiana Blood Center, said individual units of blood are separated into the packed red cells, plasma and cryoprecipitate.

“It’s rare that a doctor asks for whole blood anymore, so we just split everything. That way one person’s donation can help three different patients,” he said.

Type O blood is the most common and therefore the most heavily needed, he said, noting any type is good though.

“I jokingly say if it’s red we need it,” he remarked, adding that when shortages do occur, it’s typically among the O and A types, both positive and negative.

The Indiana Blood Center worked with WTWO-TV Friday at Baesler’s Market, bringing in 45 units between 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. A donation typically takes 45 minutes. Photo identification is required.

Ten years ago, cars lined the road as donors waited to give blood at the Indiana Blood Center’s location at 2021 S. Third St. the morning of the attacks, she said. But having a ready supply in advance is always better than waiting until tragedy strikes.

Inside the air-conditioned RV that serves as the organization’s bloodmobile, Josh Craft was on a recliner waiting to give. The 27-year old Rosedale firefighter said he tries to donate three to four times a year.

“I think it’s important for everyone to donate,” he said, pointing out it’s always better to have more on hand. “If you were involved in a tragedy you’d want blood too.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.