Hundreds of people turned out to give blood Thursday at the during the first day of the Heartland blood drive. The Red Cross collected 413 units of blood, the most successful kick-off to the Heartland blood drive that we've ever had. But it's not just the people who donate blood, it's also the people who donate their time who make a difference.
Red Cross volunteer Jean Cauble tells one donor, "Thank you for coming." They may be just a few simple words, but it's just one of the things that Red Cross volunteers do, that makes the people who donate feel good. One donor in Carbondale says, "They're standing there, and they say, hey, you want something to drink, I'll get you something to drink, here, have a little bit more." It's something that Cauble has been doing for almost 20 years. She says there's nothing she would rather do in her spare time. Cauble says, "I like working with the people, it's something worthwhile. They won't take my blood but they will take my time."
That's why Raymond Jakse's at the Carbondale drive too. He only has one lung. He can't donate blood, so he donates the only thing he can, his time. Jakse says, "I had surgery and I know that I needed blood while I had surgery, so I knew I needed to replenish the supply." He's been volunteering with the Red Cross since he moved to Southern Illinois a few years ago. "I'm a member of the church here, and I like to help out. I'm brave enough to be in the choir so I thought I could handle this too."
It's a job that Red Cross volunteers across the Heartland can handle too, like the ones at the blood drive in Cape Girardeau. They do much more than just lend a helping hand, they listen, and get to know the people who take time to donate. It's something that volunteers, like Jakse and Cauble are more than happy to do. Cauble says, "Some talk about their experiences, some have different experiences, once in a while they have bad experiences, but they all feel better after they give."