Longtime blood donor encourages Baton Rouge community to get back in the donation chairs again

Longtime donor encourages people to give blood as dire shortage continues

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Between recent hurricanes and the pandemic, the nation is experiencing a blood shortage. So, WAFB partnered with Our Lady of the Lake to help bring the donors to the chairs.

One woman, in particular, has been a regular donor since 1996 but hasn’t been able to donate through the pandemic. This week was her first day back in the chair since February.

“I know when I do it, I know it’s not going to go to waste and somebody or several somebodies will be helped,” says Elizabeth Swoope, a long-time blood donor.

She’s done this for 24 years now. It’s almost like second nature to her.

“It feels safe to me,” she says.

But it wasn’t always as easy for Swoope.

“In the early 90s, my dad needed blood after a cancer surgery, but I wasn’t comfortable to donate,” she explains.

A friend motivated her to donate blood in the late 90s and she hasn’t looked back since. Now, Swoope encourages you to get outside and give it a shot, like she did.

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“The pandemic wouldn’t be the part that scared me. I had to get over my dislike of needles,” she says.

Swoope feels comfortable being at Our Lady of the Lake to donate, especially with COVID-19 precautions in place. She says the needle may be the scary part for you. But she offers a tip if you’re a first-time donor.

“I brought something so I could listen to music and I just put my earbuds in. I listened to music and kind of zoned out and didn’t look. After I did that a few times, I didn’t need to do it anymore.”

A distraction helped her at first, but some R&R keeps her coming back. She says she barely even feels the needle anymore but, instead, feels better knowing her donation can help someone else.

For more information on how to donate to WAFB and Our Lady of the Lake’s blood drive, click here.

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