New Arkansas Program Allows Blood Donation Recipients To Thank Their Donor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Coming up on Tuesday (Dec. 17), you will have a chance to give back in a significant way this holiday season.

KFSM 5NEWS and THV11 are teaming up with the Arkansas Blood Institute for its 4th annual Holiday Blood Drive and this year there’s a brand new element that will leave a powerful impact.

Donors can give blood on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In today’s busy world, we sometimes forget how a simple “thank you” can go such a long way. New this year, green hearts will be put on every bag of blood given embodying that sense of gratitude.

Vince Maniace, Arkansas Blood Institute Account Consultant, said thanks to a first-of-its-kind program, Thank the Donor, the giver now becomes the receiver.

“It’s really about communicating that attitude of gratitude,” he said.

Maniace said it’s the nation’s first web-enabled trademarked technology that connects the blood recipients with their donors while remaining completely anonymous.

“It is really just a process to harness a simple thank you,” he said.

Oklahoma Blood Institute pioneered the program and now blood centers throughout the country are starting to do it.

Maniace said the little green heart with a common, but powerful phrase will be tied to every bag and then boxed up and sent to over 40 Arkansas hospitals.

“It allows people who donate blood to know that it has gone to a great cause. It has helped somebody. It’s not just show up, donate blood for an hour and go about your day,” he said.

When the recipients see the heart they can use a smartphone, tablet or computer to visit www.ThankTheDonor.org and from there they will find step-by-step instructions on how to send a message of thanks.

For Keith Jones, helping people in this way has become a major part of how he has spent his days.

“Probably close to 30 years,” he said.

Jones said sitting in the chair at least once a month is now just a habit of his.

“If I was not here I would be at home watching the same DVD. I can do this here, feel good about myself while doing it. It’s an easy mathematical equation to me,” he said.

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