KENNESAW — Sarah Hammond says the best part about giving blood comes after the fact, when she gets a note telling her of the hospital where her blood was used.

“It means I know that I’m not just giving blood to feel good about myself, I’m doing actually something for other people,” Hammond said.

Hammond was one of a number of donors who passed through the Town Center Mall this week, where the American Red Cross was conducting a blood drive. As a universal donor, she feels a duty to give back. Hammond tries to give every 10 to 12 weeks, and has been doing so for the last seven years.

“Once the phone calls start coming in, that’s how I know,” she said.

In the chair next to her, Kim Williamson was hooked up to the machine, and happy as a clam. He said he and his wife Marian have been blood donors for decades, but Thursday was only their second donation since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“The Red Cross folks are always very professional,” he said. “They’re very technical, they know their hygiene … They’ve got a few marks they have to hit to make this comfortable for me, and they do that well.”

“It’s public service. It seems like the right thing to do. It’s a minor thing, but it’s also an important thing in the big scheme of things,” Kim Williamson said.

Marian Williamson said her reasons were simple: “I just believe in what Red Cross does,” she said.

“There are a lot of needs, and it seems like a simple thing to donate blood … and it’s relatively painless,” she added with a laugh.

While this week’s blood drive concluded Thursday, Shelly Weidner of Town Center mall encouraged interested donors to come back July 1-3, from noon to 5 p.m. The need, she said, is as great as ever.

According to the Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood on an average of every two seconds. Every day, about 36,000 units of blood are needed around the country, with most blood donations providing around three units. To learn more about blood drive events, visit www.redcross.org/local/georgia.html.

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