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Alaska TSA manager saves lives pint by pint

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Crystal De Loach

Crystal De Loach has a fear of needles. However, she’s overcome that fear to help save up to 175 lives … so far.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, and the American Red Cross says one donation of blood can save up to three lives.

De Loach, a transportation security manager at Alaska’s Fairbanks International Airport (FAI), has given blood to the Alaska Blood Bank and the American Red CrossEmployees a whopping 59 times. That amounts to more than SEVEN gallons of blood.

Having a fear of being pricked with a needle, De Loach admits donating blood seems like a “weird thing for her to do,” but she said her father had prostate cancer, motivating her to be a regular blood donor. Fortunately, her dad is in remission; however, that’s not stopping her from trying to save other lives.

“When a cancer patient goes through chemotherapy, they sometimes require blood, and that motivates me to donate blood to this very day,” said De Loach. “Blood is a renewable resource, and since I have been given that gift, I want to be able to help others with it. I am also O-blood type, which makes me the universal donor, so when someone needs blood, the first bag [nurses] grab is from an O donor.”

Not only does she give blood regularly, De Loach, a 15-year TSA veteran, has also partnered with the Alaska Blood Bank to host two blood drives.

“The first blood drive was here at FAI,” she said. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave us space to run the drive, so a big thank you to our DHS partners. The second drive, I included the entire Fairbanks community and encouraged anyone frBlood Donor Shirtom across the state to donate to the Alaska Blood Bank system (Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage).”

TSA Alaska Executive Assistant Connie Tonu said, “Crystal’s donations have helped countless people in the community, and her selflessness sets the example for all of us.”

“Other people in this world do far more than I could ever do for others,” said De Loach. “So, if I can give blood to help folks out, then I figure it’s my obligation to help out as much as I can.”

De Loach said supporting others makes us stronger. “You never know what just a few minutes of your time could do to impact another person’s life for the better. Blood donations are extremely important. It can give an infant a life that otherwise may have been cut far too short, and who knows what the child will grow up to do in this world. I hope this will cause folks to donate in their community.”