Amid holiday donation lull, family makes tradition of donating blood

The Winkler family donated blood together at We Are Blood in Round Rock. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).
The Winkler family donated blood together at We Are Blood in Round Rock. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).

ROUND ROCK, TX (KXAN) — 20-year-old Hannah Winkler skipped out on Black Friday shopping this year. Instead, she joined her mom, her brother, and her dad early Friday morning at We Are Blood in Round Rock to donate blood together.

The morning donation is becoming a tradition for the Winkler family.

“I feel like over the holidays, if you’re in the hospital, it’s terrible to begin with and if you don’t have the necessary blood for transfusion or something, that’s even worse,” Hannah said. “Giving during the holiday season is even more meaningful.”

Hannah’s father, Chris Winkler, has been donating with We Are Blood for decades and inspired Hannah, his son Daniel, and his wife Mimi to join him.

“It’s something I have that other people can use so I think it’s important to give back in that way,” Chris said. Chris’ parents were both donors, but his dad had to stop donating after medical complications following a heart attack.

“He’s had to have surgeries over the years and has had to have lots of blood [transfusions],” Chris said, which is part of what motivated him to step up and begin donating.

Chris has become an advocate for blood donation, he will often wear blood donor t-shirts and try to spark conversation about the value of becoming a regular, lifelong donor.

“There’s that phenomenon of a hurricane or a shooting and people flock to the blood center, and it’s good that they have that, but they also often flock back away,” Chris said. “And the critical thing is that it becomes a regular part of your calendar.”

“It’s more fun when I do it with my brother my mom and dad, it’s a good experience I look forward to it,” Hannah said with a smile. She added that she likes knowing that her blood will go directly to people at Central Texas hospitals.

According to We Are Blood, the non-profit which accepts blood donations for Central Texas medical facilities, during the holidays they see a tremendous decline in blood donations.  During travel holidays like Thanksgiving, Central Texas hospitals also see a higher number of patients, a spokesperson for We Are Blood said.

If you’d like to donate with We Are Blood, look here for more information. 

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