This article was contributed by Jim Burns, communications manager with the American Red Cross—Northern California Coastal Region.
The Central Coast community is invited to an American Red Cross blood drive in honor of Watsonville Fire Department Capt. Danny Lucas. The blood drive will take place Friday, Feb. 21, from 12:30-5:30 p.m. at the Pajaro Valley Health Trust Hall, 85 Nielson Street in Watsonville.
In late November, Lucas was critically injured in a Montana hunting accident when a stray bullet tore through the large femoral artery of his left leg, shattering the femur bone just above his kneecap. Jumping to his aid, family members applied an emergency tourniquet and helped transport Lucas to the nearest hospital two hours away.
As a result of the traumatic injuries, Lucas was placed in a medically induced coma for five days and hospitalized for 41 days, during which he received 24 units of blood, four units of iron, injections of red blood cells, painkilling medications, dialysis treatments, and numerous IVs. Because of blood loss and nerve damage, the lower half of his left leg was amputated.
Lucas has dedicated 35 years of his life to serving his community through his work with the fire department. In addition, he is a committed blood donor with the Red Cross and has donated 64 units of blood throughout his lifetime.
Grateful for the family members, physicians, and other emergency personnel who came to his aid and for the people who donated the blood to save his life, Lucas plans to attend the Feb. 21 drive to thank people personally for finding the time to make a blood donation.
“I was taught a long time ago that life is less about you and more about what you can do to help others,” said Lucas. “People really came to my aid in my time of need, so I want to get back to giving back now that I’m home again.”
To read more of Danny Lucas’ story, please see this Red Cross blog post.
There is no substitute for donated blood, and every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. Blood products can help many different kinds of patients including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer, sickle cell disease, and many other conditions.
“We are hopeful that others find Capt. Lucas’ story to be as inspirational as we have,” said Michele Averill, Red Cross Central Coast Chapter CEO. “We are extremely grateful that this very special local resident, even though he is still recovering from his own traumatic accident, is helping us call attention to the important need for lifesaving blood donations.”
Donors of all blood types are urged to make an appointment to give blood using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device and use sponsor code WATSONVILL.
How to donate blood
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.