By donating blood, save up to three lives

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A simple trip to Wal-Mart allowed Vicksburg residents the opportunity to save up to three people’s lives thanks to Mississippi Blood Services.

MBS, the only FDA licensed blood center headquartered in Mississippi, held a community blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot Tuesday. The drive aimed to meet an immediate blood need for a car crash victim in the state, according to Sharon Ford, a phlebotomist who has been working for MBS for 14 years.

“It doesn’t take long,” she said. “It takes five minutes to fill the bag. That’s five minutes of your time to save not one, but three lives.”

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Several of the seven people who visited within the first hour of the drive shared Ford’s feelings.

“It’s something easy to do,” said William Nettle, who donated during his lunch break. “I tried to come last week but was unable to, so I stopped by today. Depending on the number of people in line, I normally have time to eat lunch afterward.”

Nettle and several other donors stressed the importance of meeting the need for blood.

“It’s a little thing to do to help others in need,” Tracey Waddell, a regular blood donor, said. “Some day I may need it, or someone in my family may need it. This way we’re covered.”

Mary Williams, like Nettle and Waddell, donated after receiving messages via phone and text about the need for blood.

“Every time they need me I come,” Williams said. “Even if they don’t use my blood type [right now], someone will need it.”

For their donations, all three received a T-shirt and a $5 Wal-Mart gift card, which were dispensed until supplies ran out.

Ford said MBS requires donors to have photo I.D., to have eaten within the last 30-60 minutes, and to not being taking antibiotics.

Other donor restrictions include being at least 16 years old, weighing at least 110 pounds, not being pregnant and not having gotten a tattoo within the last seven days or a body piercing within the last six months, according to the MBS website.