Q&A with Connie Short

November 28, 2012 

City of Residence: Byron

Occupation: Housewife, Byron Community Blood Drive coordinator

QUESTION: How long have you been involved in blood drives?

ANSWER: I started with the Red Cross at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois back in 1979 and was involved with blood drives off and on. I was a volunteer at the base hospital at Robins Air Force Base for about five years then started volunteering with the community blood drives here in Byron more than 20 years ago.

QUESTION: What got you started?

ANSWER: I’ve always gotten involved in my community and volunteered in all sorts of things like Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and different ways to help people. I like helping and being with people, so I got started in things soon after we moved here 25 years ago.

QUESTION: You’re coordinator for the Red Cross drives here.

ANSWER: We do the community blood drive for the Red Cross six times a year, every other month. When I started we used the Red Cross bus for blood drives at the Peach Shops at Byron then moved to Byron United Methodist Church. The church is having some construction done, so we’re temporarily back on the bus in December and February but it’s still be at the church.

QUESTION: Did you start the Byron community drives?

ANSWER: Actually, when I first started I assisted a dear lady named Ruby Allred. She passed years ago but was such a dear, dear friend.

QUESTION: How did those early drives compare to recent ones?

ANSWER: Completely different. We’ve made it a real community occasion, a social occasion. People sit and visit and talk and have a lot of fun. We have homemade baked goods and people love it. Maybe it’s kind of silly, but we want it to be fun.

QUESTION: Any idea how much blood has been collected through the years?

ANSWER: Oh, my -- I don’t know. We average around 42 pints per drive, sometimes more sometimes less. They say one pint given can save three lives, so there have been a lot of lives saved. We have wonderful volunteers who come all the time. I’d hate to think of doing it without them.

QUESTION: Are donations up or down?

ANSWER: They have been down the last couple of months, but we’re hoping December will be better. You pray for the best and are satisfied with what you get. We need younger people to get in the habit of donating blood. We could use all kinds of donors.

QUESTION: Why should people give blood?

ANSWER: It’s a healthy thing to do for yourself as well as for others. Your blood regenerates, and you get new blood when you give. Those blessed with good health should help others. It’s just the right thing to do.

QUESTION: Is it safe for donors?

ANSWER: First of all, it’s really painless, just like getting pricked for a blood sample.

QUESTION: If someone hasn’t given before, what should they expect?

ANSWER: They’ll walk in and register. You have to show a photo ID and have to weigh at least 100 pounds. They’ll do a history on you on computer, check your blood pressure and do a quick blood test. They’ll ask you how you’re feeling. Then for the actual donation, you’ll have a seat and they’ll draw blood. People pump blood at different rates, so it may take from 10 to 30 minutes. It’s simple.

QUESTION: Then it’s on to the baked goods?

ANSWER: Then it’s on to the homemade baked goods.

QUESTION: Where does the blood go?

ANSWER: To Atlanta, then anywhere in the world. You can also fill out a form to donate to a particular person who might need blood.

QUESTION: What’s the current need?

ANSWER: The need is always great, but with all the devastation going on in our country, like in New York with the hurricane and storms in Indianapolis, there’s always something. With the holidays there’s always a great need with so many accidents. We who are healthy need to think of others and not just ourselves.

QUESTION: Next opportunity to give blood at the Byron community drive?

ANSWER: Next Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m. at Byron UMC at Main Street and West Heritage Boulevard. Like I said, we’ll be drawing blood in the Red Cross bus but the canteen will be set up in the youth building for refreshments. People need to keep in mind this isn’t a one-church drive, we are set up there for the whole community. Contact me at (478) 956-2412 for more information.

Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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