Ron Nelson is one of the many people in Central Texas who view donating blood as a civic duty.
Armed with a stress ball painted like a baseball, he squeezes it as he donates blood at the Carter BloodCare donation center in Woodway, TX.
"Well, I have donated blood the past several years, and I feel like it's a civic duty," Nelson says. "Once it gets down to it, we're all in this thing together, and we know that more than ever this year."
The COVID-19 pandemic is the backdrop in all of today's activities.
That backdrop has not provided a pretty picture when it comes to looking at our blood supply at both a national and local level.
"The interesting thing right now is it's an instability in the blood supply locally and nationally that we have not seen in decades probably," says Linda Goelzer, the Director of Public Relations for Cater Bloodcare.
According to her, the instability in the blood supply is partly due to the pandemic and a variety of other factors that play a role.
"There are so many ways that blood donation has been disrupted whether it's local people having to flee their homes and areas from a wildfire or pack up and leave once, twice, or three times, you know from a hurricane," she says. "And then just, you know, the fact that in general people are...many of our people are trying to stay close to home and not get out and then people are sick."
Goelzer says they've done a lot to ensure people can donate blood safely during the pandemic.
"We are doing so much. Cleaning between donors, before, on pens and everything else...and there are things we put into place that can help with that safety of our donors and our staff as well as help expedite the process for you," she said."One of those things is that you can answer your medical history questionnaire online or on your phone or your tablet by downloading our mobile app."
Goelzer says the need for blood donations is always there, but they're also trying to deliver a message to individuals who've recovered explicitly from COVID-19.
"They are uniquely in a position be able to help current covid patients in the hospital who are desperately fighting this disease by donating their COVID-19 convalescent plasma," she said. "We would love to hear from you."
You can find more information on how to donate blood, convalescent plasma, or how to host your own drive by visiting CarterBloodCare.Org or calling 817-412-5830.