Story and photos by Ed Lallo
The big white bus, plastered with red crosses and Picasso style human figures painted on its side, sat in the nearly deserted Gathering Place parking. A loud hum of a generator broke the quiet as a lone masked figure entered the rear door. At the age of 86 Carol Goettman had walked over a mile from Galloway Ridge with a mission, to give a pint of blood so others might live.
Fearrington Cares, a not-for-profit founded by Fearrington residents believing neighbors should helping neighbors, sponsored the American Red Cross bloodmobile. From shortly after nine on a Thursday the 13th of May till three that afternoon, workers retrieved pint after pint of blood desperately needed during the current shortage.
“I usually give blood about twice-a-year, when it is convenient,” said Goettman, sitting on a couch at the front of the bus drinking bottled water to replenish her fluids. “This was a very good process with no problems. I am amazed they still want my blood, it is tired blood for sure.”
Goettman’s O-positive blood is drastically needed by hospitals across the state. For more than a year the pandemic has resulted in a sever blood shortage, not just in North Carolina but across the U.S.
Fearrington resident Dan Lewandowski had a great blood giving experience. “It was a little close quarters, but the chair was very comfortable and the staff was great.”
Lewandowski, a former Detroit resident with A-positive blood, gives regularly every eight-weeks. He admits he has not upgraded to the Red Cross phone app to schedule his appointments. “I’m old school I guess,” he said
“As a volunteer Blood Donor Ambassador at the Red Cross’ Durham Blood Center I’ve watched the number of donors drop significantly over the past year,” said Fearrington resident Jackie Walters. “Where three donors were scheduled every 15-minutes, we now have one or none. Keeping the blood supply current is critical for hospitals as the pandemic amply demonstrated. I’m a Donor Ambassador and a blood donor.”
Walters reiterated the importance that neighbors, like those in Fearrington, give blood regularly to “Give Life.”
“I think everyone should volunteer to give blood if they can,” said Goettman. “Anytime you have an opportunity to do something nice and useful, especially at this age, you have to take advantage of it. The only downside of the bus was I miss the good cookies you get afterwords in larger venues.”