ASHVILLE — In a world where donating has become a scarce event, one individual has taken it upon herself to donate blood and has been doing so for more than 40 years; and there is no sign she will be slowing down anytime soon.
Johnida White has lived in the State of Ohio for most of her life. She has been a resident in Pickaway County for 11 years, and has been donating her blood since the late 1970s. Over the years, she has donated approximately 14 gallons and one pint of blood stretching the span of time to 42 years.
“I am more proud of that than getting my college degree,” White told The Circleville Herald.
White was getting ready to graduate from high school in 1978, and around that time, if students were 18 years of age, they could donate blood. That year would start her journey of donating what she could for people who may need it.
Around the early 1980s, White was not a consistent donor but she did make an effort to donate when she could. According to White, she estimated she had given a gallon of blood by the year 1983. Throughout her time giving blood, she has been given shirts and other gifts for her consistent blood donations.
White has become very familiar with how blood donations work due to her personal experience. The now 60-year-old has “O” positive blood type, which is the most needed blood type, according to the American Red Cross. She has felt a need to give her time helping those who are in need of more blood, especially “O” positive.
“I am a social worker, and I’ve always just helped people,” White commented. “I’m not wealthy… you can’t really put a money value on that… maybe somebody could give $1,000… well, I could give three or four pints a year.”
White stated that she has always been welcomed to give blood wherever a drive is hosted. The only time she was deferred was around the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
She stated that it may have been due to her elevated heart rate which has made her aware of other healthy choices throughout her lifetime.
“I don’t drink diet Mountain Dew anymore because one time I went to go give blood and my heart rate was high,” White explained. “So I learned some healthy things like not drinking a lot of caffeine.”
Throughout her experience, she did everything she could to be eligible to give blood. Even through her own personal surgeries, she made an effort to give. As a side effect, she has been mistaken as a heroin user due to her scar tissue on her arms from medical professionals using needles to extract blood from her arm.
“Somebody asked me if those were heroin marks on my arm,” White said. “ I said no, I give blood.”
Jan. 24 was the last time she gave blood but she has no sights of slowing down on her donations.
April 17 of this year will mark her 42nd year of donating blood to locals as well as those who live outside the state. White is well aware of who her blood goes to. Her blood has been used in states such as Ohio, Texas and North Carolina.
For first time goers, White stated that people may need to prepare before donating blood. Having seen what some go through when giving blood, White stated that it is an easy process as medical professionals will help if they need anything. She added that it is good to always hydrate prior as well as having a snack for afterwards. Some donors have been known to faint or have light-headed effects after giving blood. White’s advice is to sit, relax, hydrate and eat after and prior to donating.
The American Red Cross has various types of facts and statistics for individuals to look at in order to become familiar with the process. According to its website, approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the United States. Almost 7,000 units of platelets along with 10,000 units of plasma are also needed daily in the United States.
Roughly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the United States. A single car crash victim can require more than 100 units of blood. The blood type that is most often requested by medical facilities is type O.