Here’s how your blood donation can give the gift of life

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 5:34 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Every holiday season, blood donations across the U.S. drop to dangerous levels.

Locally, the fear of another blood shortage crisis has three local blood centers on edge.

You never know when it’ll be your loved one who desperately needs that donation. We spoke to the Grimes family who’s experienced firsthand.

Baby Scarlett couldn’t wait any longer to meet her mom.

“It was my first child,” said Shepeard Blood Center Recruitment Specialist Samantha Grimes.

She came into the world at 23 weeks and six days, nearly four months ahead of schedule.

“Within the first 48 hours, she needed platelets, and we were not able to get platelets right away,” she said.

It’s something you never expect to hear. When you need blood or platelets, you assume there’s a shelf of them always waiting.

“I was a first-time mom, freaking out, take my platelets, do whatever you can. I don’t care whose platelets you get, just get platelets for her,” said Grimes.

A couple of days later, after donors showed up in force, they were finally able to get Scarlett the platelets she needed.

“After that, I realized that we’re not the only family that gets told there aren’t products available for your child, your family members, your friends,” she said.

Scarlett would continue to fight in the NICU for six more months.

“She had one platelet transfusion and seven whole blood transfusions throughout her stay,” she said.

Before her little body couldn’t fight anymore.

“We’re just lucky we got to spend six and a half months with her. If she had not had those transfusions, we probably would not have had that long with her,” she said.

Her tiny foot and handprint are a constant reminder of what a gift Scarlett was, but she now knows how fragile that gift is.

“Not in the Christmas spirit this year. Trying my best to put one foot in front of the other and making my way,” said Grimes.

And one way she’s doing that is by turning her pain and loss into purpose. With a brand-new job, she took at Shepeard Blood Center to recruit others to do something, she never considered doing herself.

“I had never donated, had never thought about the need for it. I never thought I would come across anybody that needed it,” she said.

But Scarlett opened her eyes in so many ways, one of those being, how selfless, simple, and life-changing the gift of blood can be.

“She pushes me every day to come to work and advocate for other babies like her. Family members, just other people in the hospital,” said Grimes.

If she could have one wish, one hope for Scarlett’s legacy...

“For people to understand the importance of how important it is to donate blood. You can save up to three lives. And it only costs about an hour of your time. Time is your most valuable thing, you don’t have to spend any money, and you can help up to three people,” she said.

The gift of time, the gift of hope, and the gift of life.


This is a recording of WRDW First at Four News at 4 p.m.