A donor gives blood at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 12, 2019. The American and Japanese Red Cross societies partnered together to host a blood drive in order to gather more donors than by just holding a blood drive on their own. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Stephen Campbell)
A donor gives blood at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 12, 2019. The American and Japanese Red Cross societies partnered together to host a blood drive in order to gather more donors than by just holding a blood drive on their own. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Stephen Campbell)

Red Cross saving lives, one pint a time

by Cpl. Stephen Campbell
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

When people think of donating blood, they often think of a sharp need pricking their skin and potentially passing out from blood loss. What many don’t think of in that moment is that they could be indirectly saving multiple people’s lives just by donating.

According to the American Red Cross, donating one pint of blood could save as many as three lives, and that’s exactly what some U.S. service members and Japanese residents came together to do at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, March 12, 2019.

Except they didn’t donate at any ordinary blood drive.

The Americans and Japanese came to a unique blood drive where the American Red Cross and Japanese Red Cross partnered together for one simple goal: to save lives one pint at a time.

Seventy Five people donated approximately 30,000 milliliters of blood to the cause, 35 of which were U.S. citizens. Of the 35 U.S. donors, 27 were service members.

“The Japanese and American Red Cross partnered together for this event because it is just a really great opportunity for us to come together, show support for the community and the military base, and just try to get everybody involved,” said Rebecca Gosselin, the regional program manager at the American Red Cross. “We both work really well together and we both have different strengths. By coming together and providing that kind of partnership and support for each other, we are making sure we reach more people to receive enough blood and give back to those who may need it.”

This biannual event used to focus on local Japanese residents, but in 2017 the two societies decided to partner together in hopes of gathering more donors and therefore, saving more lives. This was the sixth time they have partnered together.

“We are very honored for the American Red Cross to come out and support the Japanese Red Cross blood drive,” said Gosselin. “Some of the services that we offered were translators, volunteers and snacks.”

The blood taken from donors will go to Hiroshima based medical authorities for further distribution to Japanese patients.

“I have been giving blood since I was 16 years old and this is the second time I have donated blood in Japan,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jesus Acosta, a motor transport operator with Combat Logistics Company 36. “It’s just a good feeling because I know I am indirectly saving someone’s life just by giving blood.”

The American and Japanese Red Cross Societies both plan to coordinate events in the future.

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