Blood drives: a good way to honor a loved one
On October 26, 2009, Capt. Eric A. Jones USMC, a Huey (H1-N) helicopter pilot, died in a mid-air collision in Afghanistan while on a combat mission. He was my best friend’s son.
For Eric’s parents, Ken and Cyndy Jones of Mashpee, the knock you never want to hear came to the door at 4 a.m. that morning. Four Marines delivered the news.
I live across the street from them and I’ll never forget her face when I answered the door that morning. “We lost him,” was all she said.
The days following this tragedy were a whirlwind of delivering the news to family and friends, preparing for the return of Eric’s body, his wake, funeral and military honors. All of this was a tribute to a hero and a great man.
I kept thinking I wanted to do something in memory of Eric, to help others as he did and contribute to the community in his name. At that time, I was working for the American Red Cross as a blood drive team supervisor. I realized that I could fulfill all of the things I wanted to do in Eric’s memory by hosting a blood drive in our community.
The turnout was wonderful. People were happy to donate for such a special cause. We provided home-baked foods and pizzas for refreshments, which was so important to help provide a comfortable atmosphere and to show appreciation to our donors. It was a big success.
This will be the seventh year of our blood drive and the second year that it benefits Cape Cod Healthcare. We are glad to be able to assist in keeping the blood supply going on the Cape.
During this time, I personally realized the value of a blood donation more than I ever thought I would. Two years ago, I needed three transfusions and I am so grateful to the donors who took the time to give me the gift of life. Thinking about the pint of blood on my IV pole, knowing that it was giving me the lifeline I needed to get better, still brings up emotions I can’t describe.
Hosting a blood drive is a wonderful way to pay homage to a memory of a loved one or friend and, in turn, reassures patients that in time of need, the blood supply will be there to make them better.
January is Blood Donation Month and I would encourage residents on the Cape to host blood drives and donate, if possible. Between Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital, there are 7,500 blood transfusions per year. One in seven patients needs blood, and ongoing donations are vital.
The 2016 blood drive in memory of Capt. Eric Jones will be held at Christ the King Parish Hall in Mashpee, on Tuesday, February 9, from 1p.m. -6 p.m.
Learn more about the Cape Cod Healthcare Blood Center or locate a blood drive near you.