MAINE, USA — NEWS CENTER Maine and the American Red Cross of Maine joined forces for its annual Superhero Blood Drive. NEWS CENTER's Lindsey Mills and Clay Gordon went to all five locations, Portland, Lewiston, Rockland, Waterville, and Bangor, to meet the Mainers who rolled-up their sleeves and donated life-saving blood, platelets, and red blood cells for patients in the hospital in need.
Many first-timers and habitual donors registered and showed up Wednesday to participate, but the reason behind each donation always varies.
Mike Parker visited the Lewiston donation location at the Franco Center. Parker has been donating since he was 17-years-old. The retired elementary school teacher has donated more than 100 gallons of blood to-date.
“I just think it’s so important for people to get out there," said Parker. "People are so afraid of needles. It’s a little pinprick and it can save someone’s life.”
Matt Taylor was the first donor in the door in Portland. He says giving blood for him is an easy process.
“I went through a bunch of blood transfusions when I was a kid so it’s helpful to know that I can give back,” said Taylor, who now is with the Red Cross.
In Rockland, a line was formed outside the public library ahead of the start of the blood drive at 10:00 a.m. Red Cross volunteers tell NEWS CENTER Maine the day was mostly booked and walk-ins were accepted between those who registered.
For Bob Pratt, this is just another day of donating, he has given 119 pints in his lifetime. Pratt says he loves it.
"I think it is a great opportunity to give something that I manufacture that I don’t need," said Pratt. "I hope that it helps somebody."
But a power red donation was a first for NEWS CENTER's Chris Costa. A special machine allows donors to safely give two units of red blood cells at once.
“Well if I can do two donations in one, might as well help more people,” said Costa.
For some, like Jen Foster, giving blood is personal. She’s donated in honor of little Wyatt Sargent, who is battling rare, aggressive brain tumors.
“This is what we do for each other,” said Foster. "Childhood cancer is horrible. So he’s a fighter, and he’s been fighting this for a really long time and he’s going to persevere and he’s going to get through this.”
The American Red Cross is tallying up the total amount of pints donated from March 27. Stay with NEWS CENTER Maine for an update from Wednesday's blood drive.