A group of people in Washington, Missouri, who all have a special blood type, is helping newborns.
They're some of the most vulnerable -- babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. John's Mercy Children's Hospital. Many newborns here lack enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body.
That's where Duane Brune comes in. He's a universal donor. His O Negative blood can be given to anyone. Just one bag of his blood can help six babies.
"So when you do the math, we're collecting 24 - 30 baby units per week, and we do that just from our Washington location," Cheryl Barkhurst, Director of Donor Recruitment at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, says.
"I have to. Help the kids -- people -- simple," Brune says. "Giving blood can save a life, and it's the easiest way to help save lives."
The New Haven produce farmer drives to St. John's Mercy's Washington Hospital to donate several times a year. He's one of about 70 dedicated, O Negative donors banking blood for babies.
"I have two of my own, and I'd do anything for them and do anything for anybody's babies," Brune says. "Babies are innocent and precious and deserve any chance at life they can get."
St. John's Blood Center is also gearing up for its summer season. That's when the number of donors dwindles and the blood demand increases. The next scheduled blood drive is Thursday, June 3 at the St. Louis Zoo.
St. John’s Mercy Hosts Mobile Blood Drives
Snacks and refreshments will be provided, and all donors will receive a t-shirt.
Thursday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St. Louis Zoo - Living World, Classroom 3
Monday, June 7 from 2-7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Valley Park
Monday, June 14 from 2-6:30 p.m. at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Tuesday, June 15 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, Blood Donor Room
Wednesday, June 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 615 S. New Ballas Road, 63141
Monday, June 21 from 2-7 p.m. at St. Martin of Tours
Monday, June 28 from 2:30-6:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Parish/School - Florissant
All donations collected from the blood drive will be used to support patients at St. John's Mercy in St. Louis and Washington, MO. Whole blood donations are used to help patients in cases of major surgery, trauma, severe burns and other situations.
For those who cannot make it to a mobile drive, St. John's Mercy Blood Donor Services is open for donations five day a week and located on the lobby level of the Medical Center. Appointments will be accepted, but are not required. Please call 1-866-37DONOR (373-6667) or 314-251-4483 for more information or visit www.stjohnsmercy.org/blooddonor <http://www.stjohnsmercy.org/blooddonor>.