When her local blood drive combined with one in a neighboring town, Kristi Roots saw a need. She knew donors didn’t want to travel further to donate blood so she started her own local blood drive in Lone, CA.
“I thought it would be good to start the Lone blood drive to ensure the donors of Lone and the surrounding areas could continue to donate and save lives,” said Roots.
Roots has continued to chair the drive for more than a decade, and not only has she kept the drive going, but she’s kept it going strong. Hosting six times per year and collecting around 50 pints at each drive, she and her volunteer crew are making a tremendous impact.
Behind the scenes, Roots and her team work diligently to recruit donors. They actively promote the blood drive on their Facebook page and Nextdoor, email and call all donors with a blood drive reminder and post flyers around town. They are also instrumental the day of the drive, setting up, registering donors, booking next appointments, and helping with clean up. Even supplying special treats.
Roots personally gets to know the donors. It is what keeps her coming back.
“I continue coordinating blood drives because I get to see and visit with so many regular donors, and I get to meet first-time donors,” Roots said. “I get to witness the joy donors feel when they donate and hear about when they receive a text saying their blood has been sent to a hospital.”
One particular set of donors at Roots’ blood drive made a notable impression.
“I have a donor and her mother that regularly donate. Several years ago, the daughter was hit head on by a drunk driver,” Roots recalls. “She needed four units of blood along with several surgeries to save her life. Today she is healthy and alive partly due to having a blood transfusion. She still donates along with her mom, and she even convinced her boyfriend to become a first-time donor.”
Stories like this are why Roots encourages others to get involved in the blood program.
“You get to witness the good in so many people firsthand in a world where so much of the news coverage is about the bad side of people and situations. Giving blood and hosting blood drives reminds all of us that out community is filled with caring and compassionate people.”
Roots not only met a need for the community with her blood drive but continues to meet the needs of patients.
If you have an inspiring story or tips for engaging donors that you’d like to share, please send them to MakeAnImpact@vitalant.org.