Jessie's Story Promotes Blood Donations

Young Jessie's fight for life inspired hundreds of folks to roll up their sleeves Tuesday.

For the next three days, coast radio stations are sponsoring the annual "Radio for Red Cross" blood drive. The event always attracts a large number of donors but Jessie's story and his need for blood have made this year's blood drive even more visible.

A spokeswoman for the Red Cross says they've been getting all kinds of calls from folks wanting to give blood because of Jessie's fight for life. The tragedy has left many wondering what they can do to help. And giving blood can certainly make a difference for Jessie and others in need.

A line of donors stood ready the moment the blood drive opened. Gregory Mohler was among the first to lend an arm. He knows the Arbogast family and was touched by the tragedy.

"That's what inspired me. That's what I was telling the nurse here. Unfortunately, it takes something like that to happen for you to say what can I do to help. And this is what you bring to them and I'm more than happy to do it," said Mohler.

Giving blood leaves donors feeling good. There are many smiles among the needles and collection bags.

Mary Tylicki became a donor some twenty years ago. She says the Jessie Arbogast story emphasizes the critical need that often comes with tragic accidents.

"We know he's going to be going through a lot of blood with all the surgeries he's going to have."

Along with giving blood, donors also signed a giant get well card. The get well wishes and accompanying poster will be forwarded to the Arbogast family.

This region of the Red Cross has already sent pints of blood to Pensacola to help Jessie. More will be available.

"I don't know why the shark attacked that boy. But right now that boy is clinging to his life in Pensacola. Anybody that can give should give today, or in the next three days," said Ocean Springs blood donor, Phillips Taylor.

Everyone we talked with agrees giving the gift of life is a small sacrifice to help others who may be hurting.

"It's a good feeling. I mean I feel good about it. I think anybody, everybody should come out and help as much as possible you know," said Mohler.