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Have You Ever Thought About Donating Blood?

Luke Holtsberry thinks about donating blood at every possible opportunity when Springfield Masonic Community (SMC) holds their regular blood drives. He has been a regular blood donor for four years.  He is a Power Red donor. Luke has a process that he follows when donating blood.  He usually donates in the morning, so he fixes himself a good breakfast before leaving the house.  Luke advised not donating blood on an empty stomach.

When Luke arrived, he was greeted and checked in. Next, one of the Red Cross employees met with him to go over his medical history and do a finger stick to check his hemoglobin level.  If you are in good health and your blood work, hemoglobin level, checks out satisfactorily you then move on to the next step, donating your blood. Luke moved on and was ready to donate blood.

Luke was asked which arm he wanted to use for his donation.  When the decision was made, that decision determined which direction he would recline on the table. Luke had the privilege of working with Angela.  She is a Power Red Tech and a Specialist I. Power Red is a form of donation which allows the donor to donate two units of blood at one time while returning the platelets and plasma back to the donor. You need to let a Red Cross employee know if you are going to do a Power Red donation. Since your blood has to go through a machine to return the platelets and the plasma, there are certain tables used for these type of blood donations. Luke always does a Power Red donation.

For Luke and other donors, everything begins the same. Luke’s arm was scrubbed for 30 seconds and let to air dry for another 30 seconds.  This is to make sure his arm was as sterile as possible. The Red Cross Specialist inserted the needle into Luke’s arm.  Does that hurt?  Luke shared that you that you feel a quick stick. He also advised, “If you are nervous about the needle, simply look away.  It goes very quickly.” Why do you do this? Luke shared, “I have the benefit of decent health, and I have some blood to spare.  Why not? There is literature that you can read beforehand.  The Red Cross employees make you feel comfortable and safe.”

Red Cross Specialist Angela told Luke that she loves her job.  When asked about being a Power Red Technician, she told us that you need special training to do this.  Why get the special training? Angela shared simply and quietly, “A power red donation saved my life.”

When Luke’s blood draw was complete, his line was clamped off so no air could enter the donation. Luke had to remain on the table for 4 minutes to make sure he felt good and was not lightheaded. Then he was given basic directions for the remainder of the day. Stay well hydrated, double the amount of water you normally drink.  Don’t do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.

The need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds and most of us will need blood in our lifetime. SMC had another successful blood drive and will continue to hold blood drives regularly.  Please join this lifesaving mission and schedule an appointment today for the next SMC Blood Drive in May!