Drive for Life kicks off with huge turnout - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Drive for Life kicks off with huge turnout

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -  The annual Drive for Life blood drive kicked off Friday in Jonesboro with a fantastic turnout.

Their goal for the weekend is to have 350 donations and on Friday, they received 174.

Though they are one donation shy of reaching the halfway mark, that momentum has to keep going through the weekend to continue saving lives.

For one hour of your time and one pint of your blood, you can save the lives of three people.

It's what brings hundreds of people out to the Drive for Life year after year at St. Bernards Auditorium.

"Somewhere, every day, there's somebody somewhere that needs blood. Desperately," Victoria Barkley Robinett told Region 8 News.

Barkley Robinett is a pro when it comes to blood donations. Every 56 days she's back at it, saving another three lives.

"I have O-Negative blood so even if I don't come here, they come looking for me," she laughed.

For Barkley Robinett, she knows how important it is to give blood. Her father was involved in an accident where a tractor flipped over on him.

"They didn't think that he was going to live," Barkley Robinett said.

He did survive but she said he wouldn't have without numerous blood transfusions.

"He probably had like nine surgeries in about five days."

It's not just blood donors that come out to the drive for life though.

Thankful blood recipients also often make an appearance.

Lawson Rouse has had his fair share of surgeries which has equaled countless blood transfusions.

Born with a congenital heart defect, Lawson had his first of three open heart surgeries at seven days old.

Now, at seven years old, Lawson passes out "Lawson Kisses" to donors and volunteers.

The chocolate kisses are his way of saying thank you for saving lives.

Lawson's mom Amanda told Region 8 News that it's amazing to see such large turnouts at the Drive for Life.

"Without that our that that one person gave, I wouldn't have had the time that I have with him," Amanda Rouse said. 

"He's a very loving little boy and he loves life and it's just a blessing to have people come out and donate...to take that time out of their day to give me a day with him."

As you never know if you or your loved one will wind up needing blood, Barkley Robinett said an hour for a pint is an easy thing to give.

"We have St. Jude that needs it, we have our local hospitals that need it, so it's a simple thing to do," Barkley Robinett said. "I think everybody should be doing it but that doesn't always happen so that's even why it's more important."

If you didn't make it to the Drive For Life on Friday, you can go to St. Bernards Auditorium from 11-6 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday.

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