Blood Shortage--Who Is Affected?

The Stewart Regional Blood Center is purchasing blood outside East Texas to maintain its supply. It's not a new method, they've been buying blood for months. Even still, the bank is in dire need of all blood types.

Giving blood is many people's least favorite thing to do, but one East Texas family is reminding potential donors just how much their blood is needed.

Randy Lively of Palestine is just like every other son, every other brother and every other 11-year old. He plays football, loves the Tennessee Titans and dreams of playing in the NFL.

But there's one small difference. Randy can't drink or taste the same water as everyone else, and a simple cold causes him far more grief than the average person.

"Randy was born without antibodies in his blood," says his mother Pam Lively. "He has to receive those through white blood cells that carry all the antibodies. The only way he can get that is by people donating blood."

Randy's disease is not contagious. But to fight his illness, he needs blood infusions every two weeks.

"In a months time, it takes anywhere between six to nine thousand people giving blood, for him to be able to stay alive for one month." says Pam.

Until Pam had Randy, she like many others had an excuse not to give blood.

"I was just like everyone else," Pam remembers. "You know, (I thought) there was enough blood. I didn't need to worry about it."

Pam's sentiments changed when she had Randy.

"If I let myself think about it, I get emotional because those donors give a part of themselves to my child."

Randy, only 11, has come to love the anonymous faces who are patient enough to sit still for him and other patients.

"I thank them because they saved my life," he says.

Thanks to blood donors, Pam and Bill Lively can watch their two sons play in the kitchen together. But just a few cities away, there's a blood bank with empty shelves.

For Randy's last infusion, doctors shipped blood from Virginia.

If you'd like to donate blood, you can call Stewart Regional Blood Center at 1-800-252-5584.