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Thanksgiving blood drive in Vancouver brings out all kinds

They were gone by the time The Columbian stopped by late on Thanksgiving morning, but staffers running an American Red Cross blood drive said a large family had come in earlier to donate life in honor of their late father, who died recently.

“There’s always a shortage and today is a good day to play catch-up,” said phlebotomist Reese Miller.

As many as 50 people were expected to give blood Thanksgiving Day at the American Red Cross donation center near Vancouver Mall. It was an annual tradition for some and a novel experience for others.

Kalama resident Brenna Weden came down to give blood in Vancouver because she had no special Thanksgiving plans until Saturday, she said — and she’s a dental hygiene student now taking an anatomy class.

“I can see how important it is to give blood,” she said.

Portlander Clarissa Duff said it was her ninth time donating blood, despite the fact that she hates needles. She’s been donating ever since her military father was barred from it because he was stationed in England during a mad cow disease scare.

“I did it by proxy for him and I’ve been doing it ever since,” she said. “I have A-positive blood type, which is very common and very needed.”

Kirsten Johnson also donates regularly. “There’s a need and it’s easy to do,” she said. “My body generates this stuff for free.”

Actually, plebotomist Phil Long corrected her, her body requires payment in the form of calories.

“And I’ll be doing plenty of calorie loading later today,” replied the Vancouver resident.

That’s why the Red Cross always hosts an annual blood drive on Thanksgiving morning, before people have gorged themselves, Long said: “It’s hard to get the mashed potatoes to come through the line.”


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