Almost everyone is familiar with the act of giving blood, but once you’re finished where does it go? And when does it get to those who need it?
Since the Red Cross is in urgent need of donations, it wanted to answer those questions and show everyone the important process after the blood has been donated.
The Red Cross blood lab and hospital services department is where blood donations come first.
Red Cross Manufacturing Director, Paul Tayman said the blood is first tested and then the red cells, white cells and plasma are separated.
“We're a 24/7 operation. All year around, somebody's here responding to the urgent need for blood products,” he said.
Jan Hale with the Red Cross said one donation can help save three lives.
“The reality is, every two seconds somebody in this country needs blood,” Hale said. “One donation can be manufactured into three different products. One is a whole blood product, one is a platelet product and one is plasma.”
When finished in the lab, the products are moved into the next room and refrigerated - but not for long.
“Start to finish, about a three-day process from the time your donation is collected to having that product ready for a patient,” Tayman said.
Teams pack up donations to be delivered to hospitals in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Arkansas around the clock.
Hale said, “This happens all day long, every day.”
And there are about 40 Red Cross Volunteers, like A.W. Gibson, who give their time to make sure the donations get where they need to be.
“It's a good program. It does a lot of good, helps a lot of people,” Gibson said.
On Monday, Gibson dropped off a box to St. John Medical Center. The blood lab there, like at the Red Cross, is always busy making sure the gift of blood you've given gives life to someone else.
“Even if you've never received it, I'm sure you may have a friend or family that has, so it's very important. You're saving people's lives,” Tayman said.
Right now the Red Cross says it need O negative, A negative and B negative blood.
It doesn't take long to donate, just about a half hour or so, and it's actually pretty painless.
If you’d like to donate, you can find more information here.