Elite blood donor at VCU Health encourages others to give amidst national shortage
Macon Sizemore has donated more than 25 gallons of blood over 40 years
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - While there is so much to celebrate on July fourth, the Virginia Red Cross says there is nothing to be thrilled about regarding their blood supplies.
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 health administrator Macon Sizemore.
Long before Sizemore started changing lives as the director of rehab services at VCU health, he began what’s perhaps one of his more sizable contributions to society.
My job is to take care of adults and pediatrics to help them regain their best level of function,” Macon said. “The first time I donated blood was in the early 80′s. I’d just finished college, and I ran track for Virginia Tech.”
After his first pint, you could say Sizemore ran with it, consistently donating blood 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’s donated more than he has. So far, Sizemore has completed over 200 blood donations.
“I think it’s up to 206 now, so that’s over 25 gallons,” Sizemore said. “Every now and then, when I take a gallon of milk out of the fridge and say, ‘Oh wow, I’ve done 25 of these things!?’ That’s pretty overwhelming!”
For context, the adult body carries roughly 10 pints of blood, meaning Sizemore has given enough to supply more than 20 adults fully.
Macon’s donations are in the top one percent of the over 25 million people who’ve donated to the Red Cross. Red Cross spokesperson Jonathan McNamara said. “Macon is in the top 8,000 donors throughout our history.”
McNamara says these consistent donations are more critical than ever, with nationwide shortages being further impacted during the summer, especially on holidays like the Fourth of July, with donation rates dipping as much as 20%
“With this being hurricane season, we know that places across the county will be impacted by storms; when that happens, blood drives are canceled, and that puts a further strain on hospital systems not only here, but across our country,” McNamara said. “That’s why donors like Macon Sizemore and others in the community and others who answer the call this summer are so critical to our strategy making sure we have the supply that we need.”
With a need so great, Sizemore hopes his 200 pints will encourage someone else to donate their first.
“It’s each individual pint; it’s not about 200 units or 25 gallons; each pint can save several lives, so why not give and help somebody in that regard,” Sizemore said. ”The meaning of life is finding your gifts. The purpose of life is to share these gifts with others and I do that by sharing my blood.”
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