ALEXANDRIA, La. - The oldest blood donation centers in Louisiana are celebrating 70 years of saving lives. Thanks to them, thousands of families in Central Louisiana are celebrating birthdays as well. News Channel Fives Nolan Crane show us why when you give blood, you're giving life.
Every time Shannon Smith flips through photo albums, she is reminded how fortunate she is to be able to see her children grow up. In 2003 when her daughter Jaycee was born, Shannon knew instantly that something was wrong.
"She was delivered and she was as white as a ghost, she had hardly any blood, and they had to rush her up to the NICU at Rapides Regional" says Shannon Smith.
Thanks to blood donors, Jacee was able to receive treatment and she is now healthy and strong. Just five years later, in 2008, Shannon got pregnant again and the health problems continued. This time, her baby was rejecting her blood inside the womb.
"So he had his first blood transfusion in the womb. They went in through the umbilical cord and gave him blood at 24 weeks when I was pregnant with him," says Shannon Smith.
Grant was born prematurely, and his need for blood didn't stop at birth, this three year old already had a total of three blood transfusions. Shannon says her kids are alive because of generous people who took thirty minutes out of their day.
"If it weren't for people donating blood my kids wouldn't be alive today, both of them," says Shannon Smith.
This year LifeShare Blood Centers across the state are celebrating their 70th birthday, and celebrating seven decades of saving lives.
"When you come in and you give 30 min or 40 of your time you are literally giving life to three other human beings and that's not something anyone should take lightly," says Lisa Hickman.
Shannon and her family say they will always be thankful for people who give blood because there giving this family renewed hope.
"We're very thankful to have our kids after what we went through to get both of them here were very thankful," says Shannon Smith.
"I'm thankful to be on this earth and I'm thankful for my family and my friends and I'm thankful for everything I have," says Jacee Smith.
There are donation centers set up across Cenla to help other families like Shannon's. If you want to donate, you can visit www.lifeshare.org