Bridges: A chance to give someone in need a helping hand


Readers of this column often find important lessons on courage, integrity, and generosity among the stories of the famous lives presented. History offers important lessons after the fact.  Most significantly, it shows why it is vital to take action at that moment instead of waiting for a better time that may never come. Today, you need to be the lesson and take action now.


There is a young girl waiting on you to save her life. Marie Reynolds of Norphlet, Arkansas, is 15 years old. She is the president of her freshman class. She is bright, energetic, and a joy to all who know her. She loves her time with her friends, her pets, and her family. She, unfortunately, has developed a condition called aplastic anemia. This is a rare condition with about one in 1 million people diagnosed with it each year.

Aplastic anemia means that her body’s ability to produce new blood cells has been greatly diminished. This makes her more susceptible to infections and internal bleeding. Her life is in danger. She has had to spend weeks out of school getting treatments at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and getting infusions of platelets to stabilize her blood supply. The long-term outlook is promising, but she will need many infusions of platelets. This means many more trips to the hospital.  Her blood type is A Negative, which is rare. On one terrifying night, there was not a match for her in the entire state.   

As a disclosure, the writer of this column has known this family for many years. And the writer of this column has given blood, but it was not the right match.

Marie needs whole blood at this point. But even if you are not an exact match, you can still help save a life. You can still help children like Marie by donating today. There are so many others waiting for blood donations. Accident victims, transplant patients, cancer patients, heart patients, and so many others need blood transfusions. Lives are on the line right now that you can save. 

"If only someone would have” is the moral of so many stories. Right now, we can start writing a happy ending with blood donations. It takes no more than one hour to give blood. That one hour can make all the difference in the life of one person. One hour can change the course of someone’s entire existence. That is how long it takes to save a life. 

The Red Cross notes that one pint of blood donated can save up to three lives. Sometimes even a spoonful of blood infused into newborns can make all the difference in whether they survive or not.   

You can request that your donation be one of whole blood, plasma, or blood platelets.   

Several years ago, it was fashionable to wear armbands asking “What Would Jesus Do?” Now, for most people that was never just an accessory and always a question for living. So what would Jesus do?  You know the answer.  He would roll up His sleeves and give that healing blood. That same gift is in the veins of each person reading this.  

This family needs you. Other families are waiting on you to act. You can give someone a special Christmas this year by giving blood. You can save so many people so much pain with one simple act. And you can walk out of your local blood bank as a hero. You are needed to save a life. 

Contact your local Red Cross or LifeShare affiliate to donate. There are people in this community who cannot afford for you to wait. 

Ken Bridges is a writer, historian and native Texan. He holds a doctorate from the University of North Texas. Bridges can be reached by email at drkenbridges@gmail.com.