OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
We talked to the women behind the "Hope Blood Drive" to hear more about their personal story remembering their friend Meighan Johansen.
They say she was full of life, energy and love. Seven years later, the friends of Meighan Johansen continue to remember her by holding their very own blood drive.
"We make it a big event every year, just because she lived very big, always the gatherer of people," said Kelly Gomez-Johnson, Hope Drive, Co-Founder.
"Meighan was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August of 2011," adds Lacey VanRoy, Hope Drive, Co-Founder. "She had a lot of ups and down throughout her battle. The one thing our group of friends always like to think about is that she had cancer, but cancer never really had her."
More than 13,000 blood donations are needed each day to meet national demand. Along with giving at their own event, the friends that sponsor the "Hope Blood & Shoe Drive" for Meighan Johansen participate in other blood donation events as well.
"I still donate even though it always hasn't been easy for me, but I just remember there are people who need it, and Meighan was a big person when she was battling," says Samantha Deck, Hope Drive, Co-Founder. "Her phrase was 'get real problems.' A lot of times we think little things are big things and they really are not."
They add that when you know someone in need, it makes giving blood more personal, but even when strangers are rolling up their sleeves and helping out, the feeling of gratefulness isn't diminished.
Caitlin Gruis, Meighan's Sister and Hope Drive, Co-founder holds back tears as she says "I just think about all the things she went through and the courage she had through all of it. I just hope I have that courage as well."
"We all hurt losing Meighan, and we had to find some way to make something bad into something good," adds Gomez-Johnson. "That is what heroes try to do and that is what we are trying to do."
They invite everyone to step up and be a hero for all of the Meighans in the world needing blood and fighting to stay alive.
Blood is needed for people fighting serious medical conditions such as trauma, burns, heart surgery, organ transplants, leukemia and sick cell diseases.
You must register for the #WeGiveBlood Donation Drive by going to RedCrossBlood.org. You can also call 1(800) 733-2767 and use the sponsor code OmahaCB2020.