Chatham County community gives back by giving the gift of life

Pittsboro, NC – One by one, Chatham County employees and residents rolled up their sleeves April 17, 2020, to give the gift of life at the County’s Agriculture Building in Pittsboro. Twenty-six lifesaving blood donations were collected to help hospital patients in need.

The Chatham County Employee Blood Drive is held every April with the American Red Cross; however, this year it is especially important for community members to give back as the nation, state and local community continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 20,000 Red Cross blood drives scheduled nationwide from March through June have been cancelled resulting in nearly 565,000 fewer blood donations amid the coronavirus outbreak

Chatham County employee Anna Stormzand has been donating blood for more than 20 years.

“I was happy to donate, because I know lots of people that normally would can’t with COVID-19, and the supply in hospitals is very short,” said Chatham County employee and blood donor Anna Stormzand. “My parents always donated blood, so I got used to it being something that we all do for our community if we are healthy and able to do it. We never know when someone we know and love may need it.”

Pittsboro resident Audrey Joy donates blood with Red Cross phlebotomist Tabitha Burton.

Red Cross staff and blood drive volunteers followed strict protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. Workers and donors alike practiced social distancing and wore masks, while seats and donor beds were carefully spread apart.

On April 17, 2020, 26 lifesaving blood donations were collected at the Chatham County Employee Blood Drive with the American Red Cross.

“It feels phenomenal and allows our employees to further demonstrate The Chatham Way,” said Courtney Jones, Chatham County Human Resources Analyst, who coordinates the annual blood drive. “I have really enjoyed organizing this event, along with my committee. It is a great opportunity to give back to the community, and this event has quickly become a great way to meet and speak with residents as well.” 

Chatham County employee and blood donor Kara Dudley takes a socially distanced selfie with her co-workers (from left to right) Courtney Jones (blood drive coordinator), Shannon Culpepper (blood drive volunteer) and Mallory Peterson (blood drive volunteer).

According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Patients need blood for a verity of reasons including individuals who have experienced trauma, people fighting cancers and those with chronic illness like sickle cell disease.

Individuals who would like to give blood but were unable to make Friday’s blood drive can look for donation opportunities by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).