By Corrina Taylor, BubbleLife Intern
Two oversized busses occupy a large space in the parking lot of Coppell City Hall; the engines rumble and drown out conversation. Upon entering the first bus, nurses greet residents and begin the obligatory physical and questionnaire.
Once the participating citizens have been sufficiently scrutinized and have passed with flying colors, they may then venture onto the second bus to begin donating blood.
Carter Blood Care visits Coppell three times a year to collect blood from its citizens. Usually the drive occurs in the practice room at the fire station; however, this time it was held in the busses or “blood mobiles.”
Once each person has had his physical, the volunteers begin the process of giving blood, which only takes 10 minutes out of a person’s day. Those 10 minutes could help save someone in desperate need of blood.
“I am terrified of needles,” volunteer Doug Maxwell said. “My wife is a nurse and really stresses how important today is because I have Type O-negative blood, which is used to give to new born babies. I’m scared to death, but I like to do what I can to help out.”
Maxwell is one of many people who ventured to donate blood on Wednesday, March 6. Thanks to its citizens, Coppell was able to collect 25 units of whole blood and 12 units of double red.
Carter Blood Care recruiter and consultant Ellen Dinkens and Coppell Administrative Assistant Rhonda Adloo coordinated the drive. From promotional posters to emails sent out, the two scoured the town to find willing donors.
In order to gain more donations, the City of Coppell offers wellness points to city employees who donate blood. These same employees are also entered into a drawing to earn a free day off work.
“We do not have a large employee group, but we have the highest percent of participation,” Adloo said. “We get awards almost every single time, and we get recognized as a big part of the community. That’s what Coppell wants to be known as: a healthy community. We just want to be a part of that.”
On the Carter Blood Care website, there is another rewards program for those who donate blood. Prizes include T-shirts, bags, gift cards to Walmart and Target and much more.
For some, giving blood is not just about the compensation. Phlebotomists are responsible for obtaining, properly handling and correctly cataloging the blood for lab analysis.
“It was a job at first until I realized how much I could help people,” phlebotomist Angelica Dole said. “Seeing the smiles on the faces of people who take the time out of their day to come donate blood makes it all worthwhile.”
There are many reasons to give blood, whether it is for wellness points, prizes or the need to give back to the community. The fact is there are at least 1,100 donors needed daily. The blood donated is given to a wide range of patients in hospitals.
When the blood is given, so is the plasma and the platelets, and those are essential to patients. The plasma, which is the medium that the blood cells move through, is given to burn victims to treat bleeding disorders. Platelets are only found in type AB blood and are used to increase the blood count of cancer patients. All blood is essential, some more vital than others.
“I have read a lot of stories about how many people we have helped through giving blood. One year we helped a particular little boy and all our donations went into his care,” Adloo said. “It is an easy way to give back to the community. It requires little effort – just a slight pain but it is worth it. Blood is a life saver.”