In the midst of a critical bloody supply shortage, the Texoma Regional Blood Center rolled out its mobile donation station on Saturday and asked Sherman donors to do their part and roll up their sleeves.
The center welcomed more than a dozen donors in the first hours of the blood drive and they were an especially sweet sight. The blood center has taken to social media sites in recent days and asked the community for help in providing badly-needed blood to replenish dwindling supplies.
“We are always low, but right now there is critical need,” Texoma Regional Blood Center phlebotomist Veronica Tyree said.
As she tended to donors and checked health history charts, Tyree said that the area shortage is largely due to the spate of recent accidents, many of them involving motor vehicles. Tyree also explained that the beginning of the year is typically a busy time in terms of blood demand. She said many people are traveling and many become ill during this time, as the weather can play a role in complicating both. That creates for emergency situations and patients that require extra blood in order to survive and recover.
“I think there’s a shortage of blood everywhere, really,” Tyree said. “We need it here badly, but it’s not limited to just Grayson County and Texoma.”
Tyree said one big reason for the drop in supply is the aging and shrinking pool of donors. She said older donors, who are the most prolific, are encountering health problems of their own. And according to Tyree, younger donors just don’t seem as interested in giving blood.
To change that attitude, the Texoma Regional Blood Center has tried to make people feel more connected during all stages of the donation process. Tyree said the center has had great success with special phone calls that let donors know when their blood was used in a procedure and given to someone else.
“They love knowing that they’re going to help someone,” Tyree said. “When you donate and you get that phone call saying your blood was used to save anywhere from one to three lives, that’s really encouraging.”
Jana Griffith said she and her husband decided to donate after seeing the center’s Facebook posts, which asked for help in pumping up their supply. Griffin said she understands the hang ups some have about donating, but challenged anyone still on the fence to give it a chance.
“Just try it one time,” Griffith said. “It could save someone’s life and you might feel good enough about it to come back again.”
And if needles are at all a deterrent, fellow donor Wes Derrick said not to worry too much, as the process is pretty painless.
“It doesn’t hurt any more than a regular shot,” Derrick said.
The center, along with several other sponsors, will continue to restock Texoma’s blood supply in the coming weeks and hopes to reach even more donors with the second annual Captain Tim La Vergne Sr. Memorial Blood Drive at Bonham’s city hall on February 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bonham Police Department, the La Vergne Family and Bethlehem Baptist Church have decided to honor the memory of this very dedicated servant that was known to go above and beyond the call of duty both to the police department and his community by hosting an annual memorial blood drive each year on or near his final call of service.
The Bonham Police Department, the La Vergne Family and Bethlehem Baptist Church host the memorial blood drive each year to honor the memory Capt. La Vergne.
For additional information on the upcoming drive, the Texoma Regional Blood Center or the overall blood donation process, call 903-893-4314.