She has donated blood approximately three times a year for the past four years.
For Smith donating blood not only gives her the chance to help someone else, but it also helps keep her blood’s high iron content in check.
“God knew I had to be forced into it because I am a little squeamish,” she said.
Smith’s most recent donation was during the Blood Assurance drive at the Life Care Centers of America Campbell Center Friday.
The organizations partnered to help save lives in honor of United States veterans.
To honor the Cleveland 252nd Military Police Company, which returned several months ago from Iraq, the goal was 252 pints of blood. The drive fell short with only 88 pints collected. Each donor received a copy of Life Care’s World War II special-edition LEADER magazine and a Blood Assurance T-shirt for participating.
Donor Jeremy Edwards said he decided to participate in the blood drive in honor of veterans after hearing Vietnam POW Col. Roger Ingvalson had died on Christmas Eve.
“I think its something everybody should do,” Edwards said.
Donating blood takes about 45 minutes. Those minutes are filled with conversation and squeezing a soft ball at required intervals. During the blood drive Friday, Rachel Sexton and other donor care specialists offered beverages to donors. Sexton said sometimes donors experience a copper-like taste in their mouth while giving blood. Donor care specialists facilitate the donation process and make sure each donor knows what to expect.
A pint of blood is the usual amount given. Blood Assurance refers to each pint as a unit.
According to donor recruiter Tim Wilson, blood supplies are more than 1,000 units lower than what they need to be.
Wilson said demand increases around the holidays because of increased traffic. However, donations decrease. To try and make up more of this difference, Blood Assurance had extended hours on Saturday.
Employees at Blood Assurance are also donors themselves. Shaunacie Haun, Blood Assurance mobiles manager, said Friday was the 11th time she had donated blood this year.
“It’s truly a rewarding experience to know you have saved someone’s life,” Haun said.
Haun said she appreciated all those who came out to the Life Care blood drive.
Smith, a dining room manager for Life Care, said she has made friends with the Blood Assurance staff through donating each time the mobiles came to the Campbell Center.
Donors had advice for those wanting to help save a life. Smith suggested being sure to eat something and drink plenty of water before trying to donate. She also encouraged those debating to “try it once and see how it goes.”
Haun said she would tell a first-time blood donor “not to be scared.”
Blood donors must be at least 17 (or 16 with parental consent), healthy and weigh at least 110 pounds.
For more information about donating blood, contact Blood Assurance at 476-3201 or 1-800-962-0628.