Looking for a way to Give Back? Give Blood!

Toddler girl sitting in chair

If volunteerism is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, consider the gift of life and give blood. January is National Blood Donor Month – the nationwide call for blood donation and recognition of lifesaving blood and platelet donors – and with the recent winter storm, blood supplies for patients in need are sure to be in short supply.

HCA Healthcare headquarters has been a proud host of American Red Cross Blood Drives for more than 10 years. The corporate office holds approximately 10 blood drives per year and averages about 500 individual blood donors annually. One such donor, Mitzi Rodgers of our Information Technology and Services (IT&S) division, has extra motivation to give blood – her granddaughter, Emily. She shared with us Emily’s story and all the more reasons to donate blood and save a life.

Emily, at two and a half years old, has received blood transfusions essentially since birth. She was born with a rare genetic blood disorder, beta thalassemia major, or Cooley’s Anemia, that prevents or greatly reduces the body’s ability to produce “adult” hemoglobin (a type of protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues of the body) and causes life-threatening anemia.

Toddler hugging a baby doll

“Emily has to have blood transfusions every four weeks to survive,” Rodgers said. “She’s been receiving them since she was six weeks old.”

Rodgers remembered a time when four-month-old Emily only needed the equivalent of three or four tablespoons of blood and the hospital’s supply was low. As a result, Emily got very ill.

“I used to think that giving blood helps people after car accidents or through surgery, but I never thought about the people who were on chemotherapy and needed transfusions or those with sickle cell or diseases like Emily,” Rodgers said.  “Now, we do our part to make sure someone else in need has blood.”

Rodgers and her family host blood drives every eight to nine weeks at a local church and use every opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation.

“Blood donation is life-saving,” she said. “You may think that your blood won’t make a difference, but it does…our Emily is living proof.”

Take a look at an American Red Cross video featuring another family who raises awareness of the need for blood donations. Here’s their thank you letter to blood donors in honor of their daughter, coincidentally named, Emily.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and one donation can help save the lives of up to three people. Learn more about blood needs, supply and the donation process here.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

Recent articles