Locals ‘make a difference’ by giving bloodPublished 10:37am Wednesday, January 8, 2014
FRANKLIN—Needles evidently hold no fear for Bob Luck. On Tuesday afternoon, he donated a pint of his blood that completed his 25th gallon given over the years. For that, he feels not merely fortunate, but grateful.
“I tell people I’m very thankful to have been healthy long enough to do it,” said Luck, 76, about his milestone.
He first started donating in the 1960s, and has been doing so on and off since. He’s even served as a past coordinator for blood donations. These days, Gerald Elks is the planner for the periodic Red Cross visits, such as the one on Tuesday in First Baptist Church at High Street and Third Avenue.
With a book in the right hand and the syringe in his left arm, Luck waited patiently as the blood flowed through the tubes and then into a filter that will separate the red blood cells from plasma.
Monitoring him was Takeysha Jackson, a Tech 3 collector. She would frequently come by to ensure the donor’s well-being and progress of the donation, which includes returning his plasma back into his body. Mona Giles, a phlebotomist, also looked in on Luck. She was making sure there was a visual sight of the venal puncture.
The whole visit takes Luck about an hour, a little more for the temporary separation of his plasma. Overall, he has only twice felt woozy in all the years of donating.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world,” said Luck about giving blood.
Others who would agree with him about the ease – and need – for donations included Gracie Johnson, Justin Sumblin, Lynnora Sumblin, Betty and Gene Wall and Emmett Reeves.
“I only know it helps,” said Johnson of Franklin. This was her third contribution in the past year. Donors are only allowed to give a unit of blood equal to one pint once every eight weeks. Before some surgery, Johnson had been a regular donor before, but hasn’t kept close track of how much she’s given over the years.
“I want to help others,” she added.
Sumblin, 19, also of Franklin, was on break from his studies at George Mason University. He came in with his mother, Lynnora, to contribute.
“I’ve been donating since I was 16,” he said. “My mother always told me she was giving, and I decided I want to do it, and I like helping people.”
Lynnora said she wasn’t able to donate after all because pre-screening determined she was low in iron that day.
“But I do it as often as I can,” she added.
Nearby, Reeves, 74, said he’s been a donor since 1961, and he enjoys the experience and its benefit to others.
“I feel really good in helping somebody else,” he said.
Gene Wall of Hunterdale reached his 20th unit donation on Tuesday. He’s been a periodic donor since 1969. His wife, Betty, has contributed since 2000. She said she gives because he does.
“I figure it’s a good thing to do,” she added.
That’s an attitude that Sandy Hayes would like more people to adopt. She’s the overseer for the mobile units of the Red Cross, which drive in from Norfolk.
“People should give,” Hayes said. “Think about you or your family in need of blood because of a car accident or sickness. Everyone who’s qualified should give blood.”
Naturally, Hayes is also a donor.
“I’m a regular. But I have no idea how much I’ve given. I’ve lost count,” she said with a laugh.