Allison Manley chatted about her family, her house, her education and even the weather — anything but the life-giving fluid trickling out of her arm.
Manley, of Havelock, was one of the dozens of donors who gave blood to the American Red Cross last week at the Havelock campus of Craven Community College and at the Havelock Moose Family Center.
"I’ve been giving blood since I was in high school," Manley said.
She said she donates to help, and it makes her feel good when she’s done.
"It’s good to help other people," Manley said. "I always think what if it was my kids or my mom that needed blood, so why not give?"
Another donor, Wednesday Payne of Havelock, agreed.
"My husband had to have a transfusion and my father did when he had cancer," Payne said. "You never know when you’re going to need it. I’ve got it, so I give it."
Katrina Willis, a representative of the American Red Cross Mid-Atlantic Region, said blood drives in Havelock are usually very successful, but donations in January have been down.
"We’re down by 50 percent in Carteret and Craven alone," Willis said. "Since the beginning of January, there has been a dip. I really feel like the flu has a lot to do with it.
"The holidays have something to do with it and people just getting back on their regular routines. That may be a big part, but the biggest part is the flu and the viruses that are going around our different communities. I’m sure everybody is being affected with it."
Willis covers Craven, Carteret, Pamlico, Jones and Onslow counties.
"Collections all in all have decreased this month, especially the first two weeks of January," she said.
Willis said the need for blood products at area hospitals is constant and vital.
"It’s very important," she said. "We do have a lot of sickness going on right now. That’s more of a reason to get out and donate the blood that our hospitals need. The number of people that need blood products may increase this month because of the sickness."
She said donations of all blood types are needed, but concern is especially high for O Negative and B negative.
January is National Blood Donor Month.
"That’s even more of a reason for people to come out and donate and ensure that the Red Cross has a stable blood supply for our patients in need," Willis said.
The next opportunity for residents to donate blood is during a drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday at St. Paul Lutheran Church off U.S. 70 in Havelock.