By Taylor McKay Hathorn
In the United States, a scant four percent of the population donates blood, but someone needs blood every two seconds. Emily Robinson experienced that dire two-second window firsthand this past January, when her father, Clintonian Charles Corder, was diagnosed with acute leukemia.
“My mom went with him to an appointment, and they said he needed a blood transfusion,” Robinson recalled. “The hospital didn’t have any blood, so they had to call around to find a place for him to get a transfusion.”
Corder’s predicament is not unique, as ill Americans across the country require blood transfusions for a whole host of reasons, though patients with Corder’s condition need weekly transfusions and often require treatment with platelets.
“My mom is an RN, and, even as a nurse, she had no idea how many transfusions were necessary for just one leukemia patient,” Robinson reflected.
This familial realization has inspired the Robinson and Corder families to campaign for their fellow Mississippians to donate blood.
“We are just one of many families in Mississippi who are going through this,” Robinson said. “Blood donations are desperately needed throughout the state.”
The numbers bear this out, as half of the known blood types (B+, B-, O+ and O-) are at a status of “severe shortage,” while type A- is presently considered a “critical need.” Platelets, too, have reached the level of “severe shortage,” with Mississippi Blood Services going so far as to incentivize donors with Visa gift cards for giving blood and plasma at local drives or at their Flowood office.
Gift cards are not the only bonus for blood donors, as officials with Mississippi Blood Services can inform contributors about the presence or absence of COVID antibodies in their blood. The CDC has stated that the presence of COVID antibodies in the blood indicates a temporary immunity to the illness, and monoclonal antibodies, which are derived from the duplication of white blood cells, have proven effective in treating the virus.
Mississippians who are willing and able to donate can check the Mississippi Blood Services website at www.msblood.com for the location of daily blood drives or to set up an appointment at the permanent office in Flowood, and any donations made within the state will benefit patients like Corder, who once served as the copy editor of a Delta newspaper, the Greenwood Commonwealth.
“He wrote the news, but he never thought he would be in it,” Robinson quipped.