COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Robert Alex Miller, who goes by Alec, has donated almost 23 gallons of blood.
A standard blood donation is one pint, and there are eight pints in a gallon. So, for Alec to have given 23 gallons, he's donated blood more than 180 times.
"I needed it, and that's why I donate it. There is a need for whole blood and platelets. So, if you have the time to donate, you'd be helping others, and that'll make you feel good about yourself by doing that," Alec said.
For Alec, it's not just about feeling good. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and was injured in the line of fire. He required emergency care, including 58 units of blood during a series of emergency surgeries.
"As they were pumping it in, I was pumping it out. I had a serious need for a lot of blood, and it saved my life," he said.
The American Red Cross is in desperate need of blood. Officials said there is less than a five-day supply of blood on hand.
"We strive to have that five-day supply in order to make sure we're meeting hospital needs and so we're able to respond to any emergency. It's the blood on the shelves already that makes a difference in an emergency situation," said Krystal Overmyer, the Communications Manager for the American Red Cross in Columbia.
Overmyer said it's not just emergencies that require blood. It's chronically ill patients who need blood transfusions, routine surgeries, or even mothers who have complicated child births.
The hospitals are consuming it faster than blood donors are currently giving blood. Now, more than ever, they need your help.
"This is one way, in just about an hour of your time, you can help save up to three lives and it doesn't cost you a thing...just your compassion," Overmyer said.
Alec is donating in honor of a friend during this particular round, but he told WIS he knows the impact goes much further than his friend's life, and his own.
"When I walk out of here, I feel like a better person than when I walked in. And that's important to me."
The WIS + American Red Cross Blood Drive is Thursday, August 4th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You can donate at any of the five listed locations:
1) Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge: 300 Palmetto Health Parkway Dr., Columbia
2) Lexington Urgent Care: 811 West Main St., Lexington
3) Spring Valley Presbyterian Church: 8125 Sparkleberry Ln., Columbia
4) Columbia Fireflies Spirit Communications Park: 190 Miller Rd., Sumter
5) USC Sumter Arts Building – Banquet Hall