COLLEGE STATION, TX — If you were in a room with three other adults, the CDC says at least one of you is afraid of needles.
Whether it’s an immunization, giving blood, or having your blood tested, someone will always be wary of getting that poke.
It seems that was the case for AJ Renold, the executive director of the American Red Cross Heart of Texas Region.
The first time she donated blood she lived in College Station but was a student at Texas A&M. She fainted.
"I didn't donate for a long time after that, because I was like, that's scary,” she said grinning, as she thought back on the moment.
However, like most things in life, it came full circle and she began donating again about two years ago when she started working for the American Red Cross.
"It's my job to get out there and ask people to help,” she explained. “It's part of a volunteer effort and community effort, and if I can do it, so can you.”
Her couple-times-a-year donations are just a few in the pool of donations that are lacking during the pandemic.
In fact, the national American Red Cross released information saying the organization is experiencing the worst blood shortage we’ve seen in over a decade.
“Blood is only good for 45 days once it's collected,” explained Amber Duvall, a blood bank technical specialist at St. Joseph Health said. “It doesn't last forever, so those constant donations are incredibly vital to us.”
She said blood runs dry quickly and patients are in constant need of it. Two things that remained the same.
“One donation can actually save four lives,” Duvall said. “It can go into four different blood products and health for four different people.”
Without folks like Renold or organizational blood drives, the dire need for blood will continue to flow on.
“It's an amazing feeling that something that really can take, you know, about 30 minutes, the whole process in and out literally can save lives in my community,” Renold said.
If you’d like to donate or hold a blood drive, visit the American Red Cross's website.