DANVILLE — “Sharing is caring.”
That’s how Season Marshall, a phlebotomist at the Danville Elks Blood Center, sums up her attitude toward blood donations.
Many other people in the Danville area agree with that motto, as evident by the number of people who showed up on a busy Thursday afternoon at the center.
“They’re here because their heart is in the right place,” said Barb Davis, donor center recruiter. “Donating blood is a way to help your community.”
The center at 300 E. Liberty Lane sees an average of 10-12 donors a day, but Thursdays are the busiest, with 17-20 people. Mondays are the slowest. A variety of times is offered to accommodate people’s work schedules.
The center is operated by Community Blood Services of Illinois, which supplies blood to the area hospitals.
Strict sanitary and virus-prevention measures (such as wearing face masks) are in place. Donating blood is safe, and there is no risk of contracting COVID-19 through the process. Davis explained that the coronavirus is airborne, not blood-borne.
Davis, who has been at the center for seven years, said the Danville donors are the best, and many have been donating for years. One person has donated a total of 32 gallons (one gallon equals eight donations).
Terry Crawford of Danville first heard about donating blood through a radio ad, and thought, “I have to do that.” That was five or six years ago, and she’s made more than 30 donations.
Her brother was on dialysis for several years, so she realizes the importance of donations.
“I decided to give back,” she said. “It makes me feel good to give.”
Raymond Howie of Oakwood said giving blood is a family tradition, and he’s donated six times.
“There’s always someone in need,” he said. “You can save a life. It could be your own.”
Eric Rhodes of Danville said he gives blood “just to be a good citizen,” and that he’s done it most of his life, including at the American Red Cross when it had a center in town.
Davis said, “Most people understand the need for blood.”
Even if a person can’t help others through monetary donations, it doesn’t cost anything to donate blood, if the person is eligible.
The entire process takes about an hour. People need to make an appointment, then they fill out a questionnaire and undergo a mini-physical, which includes a temperature check and blood pressure.
People on certain medications are not eligible (see the website for a list), and there are other restrictions. Donors may give blood every 56 days.