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Participants talk how BASF Total blood drives save local lives

One pint of blood can save up to three lives, according to givingblood.org.

Darryl Sons, a TSM/RCMS Compliant Specialist at BASF Total Petrochemical, has donated more than four pints of blood a year for 10 years, potentially saving up to 120 lives.

Sons started donating blood at a previous employer before joining the BASF team five years ago and participating in its quarterly blood drives.

“I felt like it was the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s something that is obviously needed, and if I can do something to help anyone, why not do it? I guess I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t donate.”

BASF Total provides quarterly opportunities for employees of the petrochemical plant to donate blood, stem cells and plasma.

Sons, 47, has been at every drive since his hiring date, only skipping opportunities if he previously gave a double transfusion.

“I just think it’s a very good thing,” he said. “I think it’s great that BASF and my previous employer support it. It’s easy access to do it. It means a lot to work for a company that does promote this.”

Sons continues to donate to help save lives, like that of Dakota and Taren Gilbert.

Miracle Match for Life supports LifeShare Blood Centers, which provides blood components to 11 hospitals in eight Southeast Texas counties. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

Hunter Gilbert, a current intern at BASF said his brother, Dakota, and sister, Taren, were diagnosed with a rare blood disease called hereditary spherocytosis when they were infants.

The condition affects red blood cells typically resulting in a life threatening shortage.

Gilbert said his brother and sister would not be alive today without the selfless acts of everyday citizens giving their blood.

“The blood donations were an invaluable source for their recovery,” he said. “It feels great to know that the company I work for now knows the importance of actual donations and how they do help, because I love my siblings and I don’t know what my life would be like without them.”

Gilbert, 22, came to BASF Total through an internship program and was delighted to see he can be apart of giving blood again and give someone a fighting chance.

“I believe a lot of people know that their families are healthy and forget there are families out there who are not so lucky,” he said. “So when you are giving donations, you are directly helping someone, whether you see it or not.”

Gilbert wants to encourage everyone that is able to donate to do so.

“You are directly helping people whether you see it or not,” he said. “I have given blood before during school, but I want to do it the next go around for BASF. I’m proud to work for a company that is going to give me that chance.”

Jay Bussell, learning and development coordinator at the Port Arthur plant, felt the direct effects of giving blood through BASF’s participation in the Miracle Match for Life event.

“In 2011, I gave stem cells,” he said. “One of the hospitals in Houston called me and said they found a match. A man with Leukemia needed my cells, so I went back and finished the procedure.

“They gave me the option to know the man’s identity and where he was from, but to me, I didn’t do it for the recognition. To know that I helped someone was enough.”

The Miracle Match for Life 2020 program is approaching on April 24. The program supports three local charities: LifeShare Blood Centers, Julie Rogers Gift of Life and Blood Marrow Donor Program.