Jim and Linda Parker are educators from Kansas, Jim is retired. "So we looked around for something we could do that we could make a difference," said Jim. And they found it, giving blood in all fifty states. "We do need it, it's so desperately needed," adds Linda as she sat quietly with a needle in her arm. They travel the country from state to state with their own money. "When we did the first session during the Red Cross drive we spent about 30,000 dollars.
The goal is not just to give blood, it's also to create awareness, that's why they want their arrival in each state to be noticed, and they do that by driving the "Donating Across America van", this is a full fledged campaign for blood donorship. "The whole point of it is to let people know that there are patients every day who need blood every day," said Libby Murphy with Lifeshare Blood Center in Shreveport. With their goal almost complete they've received a lot of media attention, and despite a few setbacks, have become fairly media savvy, knowing when to show up, and what to say. "One of the things we like to be quoted on is to say if we can drive across the nation to donate blood, surely you can drive across town to donate," said Jim. But just like everybody else, sometimes they get deferred and can't give blood. When it's all over, they will have visited every state, and possibly saved a life in a few.
Story by Fred Childers