Sector Jacksonville Guardians donate blood; save lives

by Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Evanson

Guardians assigned to Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Fla., willingly took time out of their busy schedules to donate blood to the Blood Alliance, a local non-profit community blood bank Wednesday.

The blood donated by these Guardians will help patients at hospitals throughout the First Coast. Those patients include acute burn victims, cancer patients suffering from Leukemia and for those with catastrophic diseases such as hemophilia.

“Giving blood is such a simple process,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. James McLaughlin, chief of prevention for Sector Jacksonville. “Donating blood is the least we can do to help out our community.”

The need for blood is crucial. According to the American Red Cross, only 3 out of every 100 people in the United States donate blood.

“There is a shortage of blood,” said Penny E. Godbee, a unit supervisor for the Blood Alliance. Godbee and members of her crew work out of a mobile unit designed to support blood drives at businesses, churches, schools, civic groups, and local military units.

“We support 41 local hospitals between St. Augustine, Fla., and South Carolina,” she said.

According to the Blood Alliance, there is no substitute for human blood, and it cannot be manufactured or harvested.

“The blood donated today by the Coast Guard will be available for use tomorrow,” said Godbee. “The blood donated today can literally save a life tomorrow.”

According to the Blood Alliance, one out of three people will need donated blood in their lifetime. Furthermore, every eight minutes, someone in the Jacksonville community needs a blood transfusion, and every two seconds someone in the United States will need blood.

If it wasn’t for those who donate blood, approximately 4.5 million Americans would die each year without lifesaving blood transfusions.

“I hope someday that if my family ever needs blood, it will be there for them,” said McLaughlin

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