Knights Are Lifeblood for Community
4/15/2019By Andrew Fowler
Virginia Knights’ blood drives impact 900 patients per year.
Knights of Columbus members in Virginia truly bleed charity. Our Lady of Lourdes Council 9953 has donated more than 6,300 units of blood to the American Red Cross and to Virginia Blood Services, a nonprofit provider of blood products to area hospitals since 1999. That’s enough units to help save 19,000 people.
The Knights have held six blood-drives per year for more than 25 years. Last year alone, Knights collected 300 units, helping 900 patients. The council’s parish has been the area’s top collector of blood donations for the past several years. Last year, more than 389,000 people donated to Knights of Columbus council blood drives around the world.
But it’s more than numbers to Michael Roby, co-chairman of the council’s blood-drives.
“We are privileged and honored to help people that need the blood services,” Roby said. “It reinforces our concept of Knights for believing in pro-life. The blood drive is just one of many activities that supports life.”
The Knights of Columbus is the largest fraternal Catholic organization dedicated to defending life. Whether they serve at crisis pregnancy centers, collaborate with Special Olympics, or participate in pro-life demonstrations, Knights tirelessly defend the dignity of every human life.
“It is all tied in with what the brother Knights believe in and the whole concept of life,” Roby said about the blood drives.
Council 9953 begin advertising two to three weeks before each drive by carrying signs for registration after Masses. Father James Begley, chaplain for Council 9953, joked that the Knights look like they are “protesting” outside with their flyers and signs. The parish bulletin also features flyers for the drives and publishes their results.
Each blood drive sees about 15 Knights and their family members offering life-saving blood donations out of 40 people. During the Feb. 28 event, 21 of the 35 units collected were contributed by Knights and their families along with other parishioners, collecting enough blood for at least 63 people.
On the day of each drive, Knights set up in the church hall, supplying doughnuts, drinks and other snacks for the donors. Roby noted that they also assist at the registration desk and also converse with donors to make them relax.
In Aug. 2018, the Virginia Blood Services awarded Council 9953’s efforts as the Drive of the Week because the Knights surpassed expectations.
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