NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was a first for Ryley Thornton. "I just happened to walk by and thought that I should do it and signed up and answered some questions and here I am,” he said while donating blood.
He was one of several donors that stopped by the Blood Assurance bloodmobile at Centennial Park on Saturday. The organization provides blood to local hospitals like the Williamson Medical Center and the Tennova Health Care in Clarksville.
“It’s just a small effort to really go a long way,” said Thornton.
This comes as Blood Assurance officials say Middle Tennessee faces a blood shortage, especially for O-positive or O-negative.
“We still have a lot of businesses working from home and normally those folks might be in the office and we would show up with our bloodmobile or have a blood drive at their office,” said Regional Director of Operations for Blood Assurance, Gerald Antoine.
But in the age of COVID, those opportunities are far and few.
“It might seem scary and overwhelming but it’s really not,” said Stacy Clark — she knows first hand how important blood donations can be. “My dad had a lot of medical issues so he received blood more than once," said Clark. "So it feels nice to sort of put that back out into the universe to another family that might need it.”
Typically, Blood Assurance needs daily donations of 185 O-positive units and 55 O-negative units to meet Nashville’s demand.
“The other day we had 19 units of O-positive blood on the shelf- that puts us in a very critical situation," said Antoine. "If a trauma were to occur or an accident were to occur, that blood could disappear from the shelves immediately.”
Still, Saturday's mobile blood drive collected 18 units which could help save at least 54 lives.
“It can help a neighbor, it can help a family member, it can help a friend, but most importantly, it can help anyone who needs blood in order to save their life,” said Antoine.
As an incentive, Blood Assurance is also giving away $20 Amazon Gift cards to those who donate O-positive or O-negative blood.
To learn more about how to donate, click here.