When Joe Weaver received a call from LifeSouth informing him of an urgent need of blood for a child at Children’s of Alabama, he didn’t hesitate to help. As the CEO of Regional Medical Center (RMC) Stringfellow in Anniston, Ala., Joe knows that blood transfusions are a critical part of modern medicine, and that blood centers across the country have experienced a significant drop in donations in recent years. “I am not a medical professional, but my donations can play a vital role in the care and treatment of another person,” he said. “I am very aware of the shortages that exist in the blood supply, especially since the pandemic has ended.”
Although blood centers sometimes see an increase in donations following an emergency, it is the donors who make a habit of donating throughout the year who ensure that blood is available the minute it is needed. Multiple blood transfusions are often administered for trauma victims, those undergoing surgery and patients being treated for cancer. When a transfusion is needed, the blood must be on the shelf and ready to use immediately. Joe says he feels good about helping guarantee the availability of blood for patients in need. “Healthcare facilities are continuously coping with a variety of emergencies on a daily basis, and I take pride in knowing that I am contributing to the welfare of our citizens in need of blood and blood products,” he said.
Joe’s healthcare career began in South Florida, an area subject to significant hurricane activity. There, the blood supply was particularly vulnerable to the multiple storms that impact the region each year. “Our facility recognized the need to have an adequate supply of blood on hand for this contingency and would hold numerous blood drives during hurricane season,” he said. “Recognizing that I could help my community in this manner, I began to make regular donations.” Joe said that he was due for one of these regular donations when he received a call asking him to donate for a specific child being treated at Children’s of Alabama. He said that learning he was one of few individuals in Alabama whose blood was a perfect match for the child, who was in desperate need of blood, made him even more excited to donate.
He encourages anyone who might be eligible to give blood to consider becoming a donor. “Although you don’t know whose life your donation will impact, please understand that whoever receives it has a critical need,” he said. “You never know when you, a family member, or a friend might have a need, and it should give you a great sense of satisfaction that your donation has played a vital part in someone’s life.” Joe said that overcoming the discomfort that people worry about when deciding to give blood is always worth it. “No one likes to be stuck with a needle,” he said. “Neither do I. But my hope is that the thought of having to experience a tiny bit of discomfort in order to dramatically improve the quality of someone’s life is definitely something that you, and I, can live with!”
Donate today and help someone in your community. Click here to find a blood drive.