Blood flowed through the tube connecting Larry Hart’s arm to a quart-sized bag. For Hart, who lives in Lampasas, giving blood has become routine. He gives every eight weeks and drove to Cove on Dec. 20 to donate his Type A positive blood.
“I am a giving man, and there’s a need,” Hart said. “It’s a renewable resource. So why not give it?”
Hart has donated blood every 60 days for more than 50 years. On Dec. 20, he was donating blood for the 207th time, which means he has donated more than 200 pints of blood over the years.
“Receiving blood donations is especially important around the holidays,” said Clinton McCoy of Carter Blood Center. “Twenty percent of our blood supply comes from the high schools. They are on vacation from before Christmas until after New Year’s which puts a hamper on our supply.”
He said the company does other drives at businesses like the one at GC Services on Dec. 20 and also at churches. But churches are especially busy around Christmas and do not have time usually to host blood drives during the holidays. GC Services hosted the blood drive as part of its “20 Days of Giving Campaign” conducted by employees, said Chris Lorezen, human resources manager.
“Every day, there was something different that we collected including food, coats, diapers and blood,” Lorezen said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”
McCoy said blood stays fresh for 42 days.
“The fear is that we collected blood in November and December to get us through the holidays but then nothing is left for January,” he said. “We must collect blood from 1,100 donors a day to maintain the supply. So we find ourselves playing catch up in January.”
McCoy said there will be a spike in the need for blood over the holidays due to people traveling and the potential for increased auto accidents. Many people also schedule surgeries over winter break when they have help during their recovery periods at home.
Carter Blood Services set the goal of collecting 22 units requiring 30 donors. GC Services had 27 employees sign up in addition to walk-ins like Hart.