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With 502 blood donations, Memphis resident has touched ‘variety of lives’

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Shaun Brennan has donated blood and blood platelets 501 occasions. He’s photographed at his residence on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021.

Memphis resident Shaun Brennan has sat within the donor chair 502 occasions, donating complete blood, platelets and plasma.

He’s one in all simply 3% of eligible blood donors who donate yearly in the USA — solely 0.4% donate platelets — and few donate as typically as him.

Nevertheless it’s a ardour for Brennan, who additionally advocates for others to contemplate changing into blood donors, sharing info on-line, doing interviews with the media, talking at blood donation conferences and extra.

“It’s a nationwide and it’s a world disaster proper now,” Brennan mentioned. “It’s wonderful how rewarding this endeavor has been, after I consider all of the lives who I’ve touched.”

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Proper now, the state of affairs is especially dire.

Nonprofit blood supplier Vitalant is simply coming off of a vital attraction. Throughout the month of October, Vitalant reached a nationwide provide of lower than two days of Sort O blood readily available, mentioned Stephanie Kizziar, communications supervisor for Vitalant. Sort O blood is essentially the most transfused blood sort.

Shaun Brennan donates blood for the 502nd time at the American Red Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021.

Shaun Brennan donates blood for the 502nd time on the American Purple Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021.

Within the Memphis space, Vitalant doesn’t have the donors wanted.

“Ideally we might like to be a self-sustaining blood neighborhood, which might imply we’d have the identical quantity of blood coming in that we ship out, however as an alternative now we have to deliver blood in from our sister websites,” Kizziar mentioned.

That is the time of 12 months when the American Purple Cross tends to run quick on blood, mentioned Gail McGovern, CEO of the American Purple Cross. That’s as a result of individuals are busy with the vacations, purchasing and taking time without work.

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There are additionally quite a few accidents and traumas presently of 12 months with many individuals touring, growing the necessity for blood provide, McGovern mentioned.

“We’re at all times asking for brand new donors and for our present donors to donate extra if they will,” she mentioned. “Every donation can save as much as three lives, and these are actual those who received’t make it if they do not have a transfusion, and that’s why it’s so essential to donate blood.”

Jabarra Woodson, phlebotomist, checks on Shaun Brennan as he donates blood for the 502nd time at the American Red Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021.

Jabarra Woodson, phlebotomist, checks on Shaun Brennan as he donates blood for the 502nd time on the American Purple Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021.

For Brennan, donating blood started within the Nineteen Nineties when a coworker talked about he was going to donate blood on his lunch break. Every week later, Brennan determined to schedule his personal donation. He determined it wasn’t too dangerous, scheduling one other donation eight weeks after that. Later, he began donating platelets and plasma.

When you can donate complete blood each eight weeks, you may donate platelets as much as 24 occasions a 12 months.

Donation is a manner of “giving again, paying it ahead,” Brennan mentioned.

John H. Brown Jr., Executive Director of the American Red Cross takes a selfie with Shaun Brennan as he donates blood for the 502nd time at the American Red Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021

John H. Brown Jr., Government Director of the American Purple Cross takes a selfie with Shaun Brennan as he donates blood for the 502nd time on the American Purple Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021

He began off life as a sickly youngster with childhood bronchial asthma. Between the ages of 5 and eight, he was on the physician’s workplace over 100 occasions for his bronchial asthma. Whereas he by no means wanted blood transfusions, he obtained numerous different therapy, he mentioned.

As we speak, he’s keen to drive to different cities to donate, generally going so far as Jonesboro, Arkansas, St. Louis or Nashville.

In response to the American Purple Cross, each two seconds somebody in the USA is in want of blood or platelets, with roughly 36,000 items of pink blood cells wanted daily. Almost 7,000 items of platelets and 10,000 items of plasma are wanted day by day in the USA.

Blood transfusions are wanted all through the lifetime of a sickle cell affected person, generally day by day for most cancers sufferers going by means of chemotherapy, and for incidents like automotive accident victims, who can require as many as 100 items of blood for a single sufferer.

Shaun Brennan donates blood for the 502nd time at the American Red Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021.

Shaun Brennan donates blood for the 502nd time on the American Purple Cross in Memphis on Nov. 11, 2021.

The primary purpose folks don’t donate is worry of needles, Brennan mentioned. He doesn’t like needles both. He by no means has, and he nonetheless will get antsy each time he donates and received’t have a look at the needle. However that hasn’t stopped him.

“In case you can transfer previous that worry and simply attempt it, you could discover it isn’t that troublesome to do, possibly make a complete blood donation, possibly make one other one, and if you’re within the groove possibly attempt switching over to platelets and plasma,” Brennan mentioned.

Having donors like Brennan means an amazing deal, McGovern mentioned.

“The variety of lives that Shaun has touched and saved, it’s extraordinary. He’s actually outstanding that manner,” she mentioned. “There’s nothing like understanding you’ve truly saved a life if you’ve donated blood. It’s such a humanitarian factor to do and it’s such an essential factor to do.”

Katherine Burgess covers county authorities and faith. She may be reached at [email protected], 901-529-2799 or adopted on Twitter @kathsburgess.

This text initially appeared on Memphis Industrial Enchantment: With 502 blood donations, Memphis resident has touched many lives



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