IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man was honored by the American Red Cross last week as an East Idaho Real Hero for his efforts in donating blood.
Kelley Hart has been a blood donor for over 30 years. It all started when he was a young man and the American Red Cross put out a call for donors.
“They kept wanting me to come back,” Hart says. “I do it for the reason that others can hopefully use it.”
When Hart first donated, he showed up and found out his blood type was O negative – meaning anyone of any type could receive his blood.
“When I initially started, they didn’t have the automation that they have now so now I get continual reminders,” Hart tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Those reminders have brought him back time and time again.
Hart is one of an estimated 6.8 million people in America who donate blood every year. Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the United States, according to the American Red Cross. To put that in perspective, a single car crash victim could require up to 100 pints of blood.
“What they’re doing now is they will send out emails telling you specifically who your blood went to,” Hart says. “I got one that a kid, I believe, had cancer or some other disease that they needed blood and they were able to utilize my blood for that.”
Hart says he doesn’t give blood to be honored or rewarded – he just wants to help. And he has a message to those who have never donated.
“Give it a try. It’s not painful. Plus you may be able to reach out and help somebody,” Hart says.
Click here for more information if you’re interested in becoming a blood donor.