Every two seconds. That is how often someone in the United States will need at least one unit of blood.
In 2004, Melinda Steele, one of our customer service representatives, became part of that statistic.
“Everything in my life was going well,” Melinda said. “I was very active. I worked a full-time job, taught horse-riding lessons to kids, volunteered as a firefighter, had a 9-month-old son and I had finally ventured into my dream of training horses.”
One day in March 2004, Melinda was working with a troubled horse when, without any warning, the 800-pound horse flipped over and fell on Melinda, crushing her. The injuries were life-threatening.
“The saddle horn broke my pelvis in two places, causing severe damage to the nerves in my left leg, and ripped apart my femoral artery,” Melinda said. “In a matter of seconds, I had lost a lot of blood. Fortunately, I had some pretty incredible people working on my behalf. Members of the Arch Street Fire Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Baptist Health MedFlight, doctors, family members and 12 blood donors saved my life that day. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Blood donation more important than ever
Those blood donors are why Melinda tells her story. Donations of blood have always been important, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put an even greater strain on the country’s blood supply. A fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from donating blood, according to the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross’ website states donating blood products is essential to community health and the need for blood products is constant. In March, the organization reported donations were down in the United States by 86,000. Many hospitals report having only a one-day supply of blood.
The Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The Red Cross hopes testing will provide critical insight into whether donors may have possibly been exposed to this coronavirus, as some COVID-19 carriers can be asymptomatic.
How to join the #GiveBloodSaveLives Challenge
Join us in the #GiveBloodSaveLives Challenge and help save a life like Melinda’s.
- During September, donate blood at any blood drive location.
- Snap a selfie at the location and share it to your social media accounts. Include the statement “I gave blood because ______________” and include #GiveBloodSaveLives. You can also encourage your social network to do the same. Use that influence for good!
- Also, you can submit a selfie to us by tagging us on social media. Be sure to include the reason you gave blood.
To find out more about blood drives, visit the Arkansas Blood Institute’s website.
And remember, Melinda, who is a staunch believer in blood donations, because they saved her life.
“I started riding horses again five years after the accident and made it to the Arkansas State Championship Horseshow twice,” she said. “While I had to give up riding a few months ago (the pain in my hips is too much), I still do competitions with my two horses, showing them from the ground for now. Hip replacement surgeries are likely in the near future, which means I will need blood again. I give blood because it saved my life. I hope you’ll consider giving, too.”