BY JOHN H. WALKER
The Daily Southerner
Can you imagine donating blood more than 250 times over the course of your life?
Carlton Moseley can.
Moseley, a decades-long supporter of the American Red Cross, was recognized as “Donor of the Year,” although presenter Anthony Cannon opined that he thought, “it ought to be donor of the decade.”
Moseley’s recognition came as part of a volunteer recognition luncheon hosted by the American Red Cross at St. James United Methodist Church.
Moseley, who told the group he began giving blood when he was 17, was recognized for giving more than 31 gallons — 253 pints, to be more specific.
To put Moseley’s actions into perspective, a person is allowed to donate blood no more than six times a year, or every 56 days. If Moseley never missed an opportunity to give, that means that he has been visiting the folks from Red Cross for more than 42 years.
The impact of Moseley’s efforts is even more profound, as each unit can help save the life of up to three people. That means Moseley has touched the lives of as many as 759 recipients, as well as their family and friends.
“What you all do is truly amazing,” said Ellen West, of the American Red Cross Blood Services Mid-Atlantic Region. “More than 75 percent of our effort is volunteer.”
West told the group that Edgecombe County was a “shining star” when it came to its blood collection efforts, although the economic downturn has taken its toll over the years.
After having numbers decline for a period of years, West said a total of 1,742 pints were collected in the county between July 2011 and June 2012. She noted that 2,087 donors were processed and that the 18 percent of persons deferred (until a later drive) ranked high in the state and nation. There were 258 first-time donors.
“Those high deferrals come from females with low hemoglobin,” she said, asking volunteers to spread the word that great Southern dishes, such as grits and greens, are iron-rich and can cause a rise in the numbers.
She pointed out that nationwide, about 12 percent of potential donors are deferred.
West said the pressure is on for every blood drive to be a success, noting that 25 units is the minimum goal.
“In the Mid-Atlantic Region (central and southeastern Virginia and Eastern North Carolina), we must collect about 800 units daily. That allows us to serve the needs of over 50 hospitals, including Vidant Edgecombe.”
West said blood reserves are good now, but noted that it is a fluid number that can easily change. She said the recent and ongoing outbreak of flu and rotavirus has taken a toll on donations.
“We had a blood drive in Pinetops last week where we collected nine pints,” she said.
West told the group that year-to-date (since July), a total of 1,038 units had been collected in Edgecombe County from 1,252 prospective donors for a deferral rate of 14 percent.
“That number will increase as we have more high school blood drives,” she noted. “Tell the girls to build up their hemoglobin.”
The group also heard from blood recipient Dillon Parker, who received seven units of blood following s serious vehicle crash several years ago.
Parker, who shared his story, told the group, “I really appreciate what you do. I didn’t know everything that went into it until I came today … I really do want to thank you.”
In addition to Moseley’s recognition, ABB of Pinetops was recognized for its employer support of the blood program as West noted that under the coordination of Mary Ann Webb, the company consistently meets its goals.
Also singled out were Lillian Moore of St. James United Methodist for outstanding blood collections and Gladys Shelton, who was named volunteer of the year.
Shelton, who will turn 88 in August, said she began volunteering as a high school student and estimated her connection with the organization at 70 years. Webb pointed out that St. James collected the most units in the county under Moore’s leadership.
There are five blood drives scheduled in Edgecombe County for the remainder of the month:
• Monday at St. James United Methodist Church in Tarboro from 3-7 p.m.
• March 21 to North Edgecombe High School in Leggett. Collection hours in Leggett will be between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
• March 22 at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
• March 26 at Tarboro High School from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
• March 28 at Braswell Center from 12-6 p.m.