Sitting back in an easy chair, feet propped up, earphones on under a snuggly blanket watching a big screen, while gently squeezing on a rubber ball, donating blood, or platelets -- that's how a bunch of hero's save lives at Mississippi Blood Services offices in Flowood.
And Emma Lou Horrell has been going through this routine on a regular basis since before Blood Services even came into existence, getting her start as a part of her son's Eagle Scout project.
"He needed 25 donors and I was one of them," Horrell said.
That was many years ago and many gallons donated ago. As a matter of fact, Emma Lou holds the female donation record at Mississippi Blood Services right now at 27 gallons donated over the years. That's more than most gas tanks on cars hold. And she's still going.
"This year I plan to donate 20 times. My goal is to donate five more times and I will be at 20 units for the year. You can donate up to 24 times in a year, in a calendar year," Horrell said.
You know what it takes to make it to this level of blood donating? Not fearlessness of needles. The needle part is nothing. Nor it is being willing to do without the blood, which you really don't miss and it's replaced pretty quickly, anyway. No, it's giving up the one thing we all have, but don't seem to have, either: the TIME to stop by and donate.
"I know what it takes because I donate and I just reached the eight gallon mark and it took me five years, so just to get to 27 gallons, I can only imagine the dedication and the passion that she has for saving lives here in the state," said Tony Bahou, public relations manager for Mississippi Blood Services.
"I donate, too and it's hard to find the time to get down here and I work here. So the fact that she's in here every two weeks to donate is remarkable," said Janet Herman, CEO of Mississippi Blood Services.
And the real reward is the knowledge that over the years hundreds and hundreds of lives have been impacted by Emma Lou taking the time to roll up her sleeve and donate blood. Next time you sit down to watch a movie, remember her and the other folks like her who take the time to make a difference.
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