BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s the season of giving, and many people are finding a way to give back by saving lives. The American Red Cross hosted a blood drive at Our Lady of Fatima, and the goal was to collect 47 units of blood.
Kimberly Broughton has been giving blood since she was 19 years old.
“I’ve given about 12 gallons of blood in my lifetime,” said Broughton.
So, when she heard there was an opportunity to donate blood Sunday at Our Lady of Fatima with the American Red Cross, she didn’t hesitate to sign up.
“There is such a shortage in the blood supply because of the pandemic, the COVID 19,” said Broughton. “It’s my way of giving to the community of helping someone without even being able to be there with them.”
Donors said this is the perfect way to give back during the holidays. One donation can save up to three lives.
Arthur Jones is also a long time donor. He’s been donating blood for the past 20 years.
“It makes me feel fabulous. I mean, it’s something that’s truly giving of one’s self. You can give money, you can give presents actually something that is part of you that you can share.” said Jones.
The holidays are a time when the American Red Cross said donations are always needed.
“People are traveling, they’re going to spend time with family,” said Denise Smith, Red Cross account manager for the Mississippi territory. “They’re not so much concentrating on coming out to give blood. So we have a tendency to have a drop off in blood donations during the holiday season so these drives that happen right around Christmas are even more important for us to have.”
Donors get a free t-shirt for giving, but during the pandemic, there’s another incentive to give. Each blood donation is tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
“It is not a diagnostic test,” said Smith. “It is just to let them know if they were exposed but their body built those natural defenses.”
COVID-19 survivors with the antibodies are encouraged to donate convalescent plasma.
“Once that antibody test is done on their blood, the Red Cross will run a secondary test that will tell us if we can pull their plasma to be used specifically as a convalescent plasma donation for a current COVID patient.” said Smith.
If you didn’t have an opportunity to donate blood today, you still have a chance to roll up your sleeve.
The Red Cross and WLOX are teaming up for the 38th annual New Year Blood Drive. It kicks off Monday, December 28th at Pass Christian High School. It’ll also continue through Dec. 31 at Edgewater Mall.