Two friends help local Red Cross facing blood donation shortage

By  | 

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Donating blood can be intimidating, but a pair of friends here in the east look at it as a way to hang out and catch up. This bonding experience is a big help for the Greenville Red Cross which is currently facing a blood donation shortage.

It's not unusual for donations to slow during winter months, but last week's snow meant that 51 blood drives were cancelled across the state, including 7 in Greenville.

Donated blood only has a shelf life of 42 days, so the loss of that many blood drives really affects the Red Cross.

The Executive Director of the North Carolina Red Cross Cally Edwards said, "That takes a really big toll on our blood supply and so that's why donations now are extremely important."

That's where two men, Karl Reich and Al Parker, make their impact.

Reich and Parker are from Wilson and make the trip up to Greenville to watch movies and give blood together, usually while their wives shop.

Parker says, "We don't care for shopping, so this makes good time for us to kill time while they're out doing their thing."

Reich has been donating since the early 1970's.

Reich says, "I made the 10 gallon club in whole blood, and then the last three years I been coming here."

Parker started coming with him about two years ago.

Parker says, "He told me about it and what the benefits of it are and I said might be worthwhile."

Reich and Parker say donating is easy thanks to the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which allows people to set donation appointments and even see when someone receives the blood.

The Greenville Red Cross hosts blood drives on the first and third Saturday of each month.

Edwards says if you're nervous about donating just think about patients in need.