For those of you who drove downtown Sioux Falls, you probably noticed the big red blood mobile parked outside city hall. How many of you went in to donate blood? The few minutes it takes to donate blood will help at lease 3 other people. We accompanied a Sioux Falls man who recently found out his life-saving habit is also helping preemies.
Jeff Morlan has been a dedicated blood donor for at least 15 years. Every couple of months he spends a half an hour at one of the blood donation centers located at both hospitals. We caught up with him at Avera McKennan. Giving the gift of life has become second nature to him.
Morlan says, "I think I decided to start (giving blood) after I had children and was in the hospital three different times and saw what went on and saw how important it was."
Avera McKennan Lab Director Leo Serrano says, "All blood donors are heroes as far as we're concerned. They're about 5% of the eligible population that donate and that 5% supports all the rest. We never really have enough blood."
A few months ago Morlan found out he was a Quint donor. It's not the amount of blood he's given or even that he has O negative blood, it's actually what he doesn't have in his blood that makes him so unique.
Serrano says, "Quint donors are used for our tiniest babies, for our premature babies. It's not that their blood type is so special, but these people have not been exposed to CMV or CitoMegaVirus which is a virus that is very common to most of the population. When you are very young or have immune problems you want to get CMV negative blood."
The process for giving blood as a Quint donor is the same as any other regular blood donation, only it's the bag that's different.
Morlan says, "When you think how tiny those babies are and need every little bit of help they can get, whether that's new blood or whatever. It definitely reminds you to do it as often as you can."
Every Quint donor has their blood tested every time they donate to make sure they are still CMV negative. If they are, they will continue to breathe life into the tiniest of patients who are fighting for every breath. That is quite a gift from a man who rolls up his sleeve purely out of the goodness of his heart.
More than 28,000 donors are needed each year to meet the needs of patients in local hospitals.
Avera McKennan's Blood Donor Center is located in the Avera Doctor's Plaza II 3rd Floor.
There is designated parking in front for blood donors or valet parking for free.
Monday - Thursday
8 am - 6 pm
8 am - 4 pm
They ask that you call and make an appointment 605.322.7111 ahead of time.