UPDATED: 12/29/16, 10 p.m.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS – More than 500 people stopped what they were doing to give back with the gift of life during our second annual blood drive.
It’s in memory of Dave Benton and Robert Reese. We had a goal of 500 donors but you helped us beat that. We finished the drive with 516 donors, and counting. We had crews in Urbana, Springfield, Mattoon and Danville — communities coming together with a single goal — to save lives.
Even with a singular goal, everyone donated for different reasons. Some of you were first time donors.
“Something I always thought about doing but just never got around to it … It’s not that big a deal, if you’ve got the time, go ahead and do it,” says Ben Potter of Danville.
Others realized one pint can save up to three lives. “I just thought, well, this is one small step I can take,” says Guy McCoy of Springfield.
Some of you have given before and know just how important a donation can be.
“I’m just two shy of having 22 gallons … Last year my sister came down with breast cancer, the reason I donate is it saves lives, even though I couldn’t save hers, I know I’m saving others,” says David Myers of Mattoon.
Suzan Armstrong’s grandson battled cancer for six days after he was born. He didn’t make it, but blood donations helped.
“Every donation was appreciated because, you know, if it wasn’t for the donations he might not have even had the chance to last the six days that he did for us to get to visit him in the hospital,” says Armstrong.
Robert Reese’s daughter donates to honor her dad. She grew up watching him donate.
“You find yourself being sad a lot and it’s just a positive way to say, you know, I’m living up to things that he did, and things that he thought was important as well,” says Rachel Hall.
No matter the reason, donating is a small way to make a big difference. For all of you who took the time to do it, we can’t thank you enough.
Original: 12/28/16, 10 p.m.
CHAMPAIGN — The American Red Cross says every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.
For some people in central Illinois, a blood donation meant the difference between life and death.
We caught up with blood donors and recipients, who shared their stories of loss and recovery.
Giving blood isn’t a chore for them. It’s a way of honoring loved ones, friends, and a cause they can believe in.
But for some, giving blood has a very real connection.