At the American Red Cross, our employees and volunteers are the driving force behind our lifesaving mission. We turn compassion into action through the care we provide each blood and platelet donor. With our spirit of service, we help save patients’ lives every day. We spent time with Luci Busby, a 21-year veteran phlebotomist with the Red Cross in Charlotte, North Carolina.
1: We imagine that you get to meet lots of different folks who donate blood. Describe the kind of donors you get to meet each day and how great it is to cross paths with people of all walks of life.
I definitely meet people from all walks of life. Some donors have been giving blood for years and some are first-time donors. Usually people who have given before have a story – they, themselves, have needed blood in the past – or their family members have had to receive many units. Donors, especially those giving for the first time, always tell me they want to give back.
2: For you personally, how special is it to be part of the Red Cross and serving the organization’s lifesaving mission?
I knew my job was important all along. However, six years ago my father was diagnosed with leukemia and fought a hard battle for almost a year. He received blood and platelets weekly. Sometimes we had to wait on the platelets. I saw firsthand how donating blood was going to help save lives – including my dad’s. My father passed away February 12, 2012, but we had extra time with him because of all the blood products people donated. I will be forever grateful to these donors.
3: What kinds of extra steps do you take to make donors feel comfortable (many are afraid of needles) for coming in to give blood?
I strive to make donors feel as comfortable as possible. I ask them if they ate a good meal and drank extra fluids. If they express they are afraid of needles, I put their minds at ease by describing what it will feel like, and I talk to them to help them feel less anxious. We tend to talk about their family, work, children and that helps to get them more relaxed.
4: When you hear about the kinds of patients who need blood – whether they are accident victims, people having surgery or those who regularly need blood such as sickle cell patients – how does it make you feel knowing that your job directly helps save their lives?
It makes me feel really good, and I feel like we are really making a difference to help people. If it were not for my colleagues and myself, the blood donations would not get collected and patients wouldn’t get the blood they need.
5: Are you able to donate blood? If so, why is it so important for you to be able to give this priceless gift to helps others?
I am beyond grateful that I’m very healthy and able to give back by giving blood myself. I donate about 3 –4 times a year. It’s a great feeling knowing I’m helping save someone else’s life – not only with my job – but with my donations as well.
CRITICAL NEED FOR BLOOD AND PLATELETS – PLEASE #GIVENOW
The Red Cross has a critical need for blood and platelet donors to give now to help address a winter blood donation shortage caused by ongoing severe winter weather and widespread flu. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed in the coming days so that patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.