Elite blood donor at VCU Health encourages others to donate amid national shortage

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — While there’s so much to celebrate on July 4, the Virginia Red Cross says there’s nothing exciting about their blood supply.

They say donations, along with the nationwide shortage, take a hit during the summer months. But if you needed a little motivation to make your first donation, look no further than VCU’s health administrator, Macon Sizemore.

Long before Sizemore began changing lives as Director of Rehabilitation Services at VCU Health, he began what is perhaps one of his most significant contributions to society.

My job is to care for adults and pediatricians to help them get back to their best level of functioning,” Macon said. “The first time I donated blood was in the early 80s. I had just finished college and raced track for Virginia Tech.

After his first pint, you could say Sizemore ran with it, donating blood regularly over the next 40 years.

“It just fell into a groove for me at that point,” Sizemore said.

And you’d be hard pressed to find someone who gave more than him. So far, Sizemore has made over 200 blood donations.

“I think it’s up to 206 now, so it’s over 25 gallons,” Sizemore said. “Once in a while, when I take a gallon of milk out of the fridge and say, ‘Oh wow, I’ve made 25 of these things!?’ It’s quite overwhelming!

For context, an adult’s body contains around 10 liters of blood, which means Sizemore has donated enough to supply over 20 adults.

Macon’s donations are in the top 1% of the more than 25 million people who have donated to the Red Cross. Red Cross spokesman Jonathan McNamara said. “Macon is in the top 8,000 donors in our history.”

McNamara says these constant donations are more critical than ever, with nationwide shortages being hit even harder during the summer, especially during holidays like July 4, with donation rates dropping by up to 20%.

“With this hurricane season, we know places across the county will be impacted by storms; when that happens, blood drives are canceled, which puts additional strain on hospital systems not just here, but across the country,” McNamara said. “That’s why donors like Macon Sizemore and others in the community and others who are answering the call this summer are so critical to our strategy in ensuring we have the supply we need. “

With such a great need, Sizemore hopes his 200 pints will encourage someone else to donate his first.

“It’s each individual pint; it’s not about 200 units or 25 gallons; every pint can save multiple lives so why not donate and help someone with that,” Sizemore said. “The meaning of life is to find one’s gifts. The purpose of life is to share those gifts with others and I do this by sharing my blood.

To schedule your first blood donation to the Virginia Red Cross, click HERE. For those unable to donate, you can volunteer to help the Red Cross with donations HERE.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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