CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Scott Jones of Muleshoe gave blood Thursday for the first time in more than a year. Jones visited an area of Mexico where malaria was present and he had to refrain from donating for one year.
By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
Michael Shelley, a railroad conductor, squeezed a red stress ball as tubes from his arm drew his A-positive blood into a machine with each squeeze.
Shelley first donated blood in his 20s. His cousin was diagnosed with leukemia and asked relatives for blood.
“I’ve given over two gallons of blood (since then),” he said.
He was one of about 30 people who donated blood Thursday at the Clovis-Carver Library.
Minutes before reclining on the cot, Shelley, 55, eyed the machine tentatively. It was his first time donating through a double red-cell donation procedure.
“It’s been at least a year since I gave blood,” he said.
The blood drive usually brings about 15 to 20 donors to the library.
“We’ve been busy all day,” said site coordinator Linda Harrison. “This is possibly the most successful blood drive we’ve had.”
She said the library has blood drives every three months, but could not determine what brought more people that day.
The blood would go to hospitals throughout West Texas and eastern New Mexico, according to blood drive supervisor Ray Guajardo of United Blood Services of Lubbock.
The double red-cell process separates the blood and plasma on site and gives back the plasma, which contains saline, to the donor, leaving pure red blood cells ready for use.
“You leave with the same fluid volume you came with,” Guajardo said.
Guajardo said the double-draw procedure will eventually replace the current blood-drawing process that collects a pint of human blood, which still needs to be processed to separate the blood and plasma.
Donors went through interviews before donating blood. Those under 17 or who have been out of the country cannot give blood.
Scott Jones, 27, who works at the library, donated his O-positive blood for the first time after a year of sitting out blood drives.
Jones started donating his blood five years ago. Last year he went to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, which was cited for possible malaria outbreak, though Jones did not contract the disease.
“Anyone who has been to that area has a high risk of malaria,” he said.
Blood donors received T-shirts and signed up to win $25 gift cards from Wal-Mart.
But donors came in for their own reasons. Some even fought through their own fears to do so.
“I’m one of those people that don’t like the sight of blood or those people that don’t like getting needles poked into me,” said Celia Donofrio, a Clovis legal secretary. “I have five kids, and if something happens to them I’d like to think there’s blood available for them.”
United Blood Services will have another blood drive Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Plains Mall.
For more information about donating, visit www.unitedbloodservices.org/