Air Force Veteran Aaron Boyer is what many consider to be an expert donor. He’s been donating his blood and platelets at places like University Hospital in Houston, Texas for nearly 15 years.
Boyer first began donating blood out of convenience, but over time it began to take on a more personal meaning. “I was initially doing it because I was in the Air Force and they had a blood drive in the place I worked. And then I started seeking out places to do it,” Boyer said.
He religiously donates every four weeks, which is as often as donors are allowed to go. “To me, it’s just a way to keep giving back, and doing something,” said the 20-year veteran.
Boyer, like many blood donors, feels he is giving the greatest gift of all: the gift of life. A single pint of blood that is donated can save as many as three lives on average. As such, Boyer has theoretically saved over 500 lives, and says everyone else can do the same by donating.
“Get out there. Do it,” he said. “I got both of my daughters to do it in Wyoming when we lived there, and they both thought it was a good experience.”
Boyer encourages others to follow suit, saying it’s worth the half hour it may take out of your day. You never know when you or someone you love may be on the receiving end of these donations, he said.
This comes at a time when the American Red Cross is in need of blood donations. A bitter cold and stormy winter, compounded by an especially severe cold and flu season, have contributed to a decrease in blood donations, according to the organization.
Katie Gaynor, External Communications Manager, said in January the American Red Cross suffered from 230 canceled blood drives across the country, which resulted in 7,500 blood units lost.
On a daily basis, the Red Cross needs to collect nearly 15,000 units of blood on average across the country to maintain its supply. “That does make a pretty big impact when you think about it over a stretch of time,” said Gaynor.