Battle of the Badges gets personal for McPherson Fire Chief

By Nick Gosnell
August 19, 2014

McPherson Fire Chief Jeff Deal spoke to the McPherson City Commission on Monday morning about the upcoming Battle of the Badges blood drive.

He told them his family's story. Deal said, "My father is in the end stages of cancer. In order for him to stay in the fight, it's quite frequently necessary that he has blood transfusions. A couple of weeks ago, chemo had taken a tremendous toll on him. He was completely drained.

He went into the doctor and the doctor told him he needed a blood transfusion. He took the test to see where is hemoglobin level was at. His hemoglobin level did not meet the requirement, so he was told to come back in a couple of days and take the test again. Twenty-four hours passed. He was doing extremely poorly. He went in, took the test again, it still hadn't dropped low enough. In another twenty four hours, his level was finally to a low enough amount that he was able to have the transfusion, and instantly felt better. Inside of twenty-four hours he felt better and felt like getting back in the fight again and battling this.

Come to find out, the threshold levels to recieve transfusions had to be lowered, because we are so short of blood in this community. A year ago, what he would have received the blood transfusion at would have been [the first] day he went into the doctor. He had to wait another forty-eight hours. Basically, the premise was, well, if you're alive in forty-eight hours, come back and we'll give you some blood and see if we can keep you alive.

So, we are in that desperate of a situation in our country. I am told that we are sixty thousand units short. That's a tremendous shortage of blood. Nothing replaces, nothing can be synthesized to replace human blood. We're in desperate need of it."

Deal noted that McPherson has a good crop of regular donators, but they need more customers.

The annual Battle of the Badges blood drive is Thursday, August 28th from Noon to 6 p.m. or Friday, August 29th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 North Elm Street in McPherson. KBBE's Joe Johnston will be out at the drive on Thursday the 28th to talk to those donating and to get more people out to donate.