A Small But Life-Saving Way to Help as Texas Recovers

By Amy Yen, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region

The human body is amazing.

It makes 2 million red blood cells every second. After you give a pint of blood, the plasma from your donation is replenished within 24 hours and the red blood cells within a few weeks.

Think of it. You can give away a pint of your blood & walk away good as new. Plus you get to eat a cookie, guilt-free.

Red Cross Blood Staff marking the arm of a blood donor preparing to give blood. January 13, 2021. Dallas, TX. New Years Blood Drive 2021. Photos by Steven Garrett/Red Cross NTX

Blood donations are more important than ever right now, as the recent winter weather has canceled blood drives all around the country, leading to a blood supply shortage. Even when the weather is poor, the need never lets up. Someone in the US needs blood every 2 seconds.

Valandia Willis knows this first-hand.

Her daughter has lived her whole life with a form of sickle cell anemia, and family members on her dad’s side has a more serious form of the disease that often requires blood donations. It’s because of this that she became a blood donor, more than 20 years ago.

“Realizing how they, at any moment, could need blood just triggered me to being a donor,” said Val. “Without donors giving the transfusions they may need from time to time, they may not make it.”

Although thankfully, her daughter has never had to have a transfusion, Val’s daughter’s father has needed one regularly once a year, as have other relatives. Val notes that without those transfusions, those relatives may have died early in life.

Val says giving blood is an easy process, even though, like many, she’s not fond of needles.

“Once you put that part of it out of your mind and just think about the advantages of helping others in need,” she says, “It far outweighs the discomfort or inconvenience.”

It’s also a gratifying experience.

“We’re all in this together,” Val said. “Giving blood is a minimal contribution to the health of others. Your body recoups what you just gave fairly quickly. Just knowing that you gave to the good of all, who need it, is just rewarding. Just knowing, it didn’t cost you much, but a little bit of your blood, which your body will get back for you, but you will know that you will help others, is very gratifying for me.”

She knows first-hand why it matters.

Join donors like Val & make an appointment to give blood at this critical time at RedCrossBlood.org or download the free Red Cross Blood Donor app. To learn about our COVID-19 safety protocols & how your blood donation will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, click here.

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