Residents donate blood by the gallon

Lindsey Jackson · Thursday, April 4, 2013
Members of the community donated not money, but about six to seven gallons of blood at a Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Drive on Monday at First Church United. The event was sponsored by the Aquarius Club. Priscilla Haessig coordinated the drive and said the goal of 49 units of blood was surpassed, at 55 donated units.

Each unit of blood equals about one pint. And if you walk around a blood drive, some people may tell you they have donated gallons over the course of their lives.

Wayne Noring donated for the first time in high school.

"At that time, they took blood directly from my arm and put it into my grandmother's arm," Noring said. "So things have changed a lot." He didn't start donating regularly until 20 years ago, after his wife talked him into it. "I figured if she could do it, I could."

Noring is unsure how much blood he has donated since high school, but he has given 12 gallons of blood since donating with Mississippi Valley.

People who show up to give blood normally donate one unit, or pint. Each pint of donated blood will help three people as it's separated into red cells, platelets and plasma.

"I figure I could be helping anybody, especially the local children," Noring said. On Monday, Noring donated double the amount. The drive's managing nurse, Kelle Hennings, said the size of a person's body determines if a person can give one or two units.

An adult has approximately 10-12 pints of blood. Red cells carry oxygen and are used during surgery to treat anemia. They can be refrigerated for up to 42 days. Platelets are kept at room temperature for up to five days and are used to control bleeding or during cancer treatment. Plasma can be frozen up to one year and is used to control bleeding.

Denny Spilger planned on donating Monday, but could not due to taking antibiotics. He said people have to donate blood because it is saving lives.

"You need to do it," he said. "It's important."

Spilger recalled not liking needles, but was pretty much dragged into donating his first time by coworkers Ken Morrison and Phil McIntire.

"I didn't have a choice," Spilger said jokingly. "After that, they didn't have to force me."

Spilger said he has donated eight gallons.

Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is located in Davenport. The mobile drives take place anywhere within a three-hour radius of Davenport. Nurse Hennings said the mobile drive comes to West Liberty regularly because people donate a lot of blood here. She also said students at the high school are great at donating blood, and as a perk the center writes letters of recommendation for students who have donated a certain amount.

Haessig said the Aquarius Club, Lions, Rotarians, American Legion and Chamber of Commerce are all groups who regularly host West Liberty blood drives. According to Hennings, anyone who would like to coordinate a blood drive is welcome to do so.
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