BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Giving blood is not top of mind for most of us. In fact nationwide, only about 3 percent of Americans donate blood; yet it is crucial for all of us. American Red Cross Volunteer Donald Childress knows that better than anyone.
Two days a week, Childress volunteers at Birmingham’s Red Cross Blood Distribution Center where he is part of the transportation team that delivers blood shipments to hospitals throughout north Alabama.
Blood units are carefully prepared in a lab where there are shelves of various blood types waiting to fill the need for someone; somewhere in Alabama. Each unit is packed in ice in special containers headed for their special destinations.
Donald Childress is retired from the Air Force and the Post Office but he’ll tell you this is one of his most important jobs. He describes making one emergency blood delivery that got to the hospital just in time. A hospital worker saw him walk in the door with that precious container and couldn’t wait to get her hands on it.
Donald explains, “She said we’re waiting on this. We need it now, right now and they started opening the container before they even signed for it.”
He goes on to say, “You’re saving someone’s life, it could be one of my family members that I don’t even know about.”
When asked if it’s just a job driving boxes around town he quickly answers, “No, we’re driving ‘life’ around.”
Those precious units of blood do no good sitting on the shelf. Donald knows his role is crucial and that’s why he does it for free. “Helping people, making a difference in someone’s life besides mine. I guess that’s the main thing. I know I’m helping out; maybe saving a life.”
You can help save a life too by being a blood donor. To find out more about donations and about being a Red Cross volunteer, click here.