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Category: Rehearsals and Showers
Article: Throw a green bridal shower -- 8/5/2010

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A different 'type' of bridal shower

BY JESSICA TRUFANT

Like most engaged couples, Scott Langlands and Lauren Williamson celebrated their upcoming wedding with a shower. But instead of asking for china and flatware, they asked their family and friends for a different gift: the gift of life.

In lieu of a traditional wedding shower, Langlands, 31, of Wrentham, Mass. and Williamson, 25, of nearby North Attleboro, Mass. asked their friends and family to gather at Sturdy Memorial Hospital for a blood drive.

"A traditional wedding shower for us didn't make any sense," Williamson said. "We have each other, we have a house, we have everything we need."

"We're both very giving and we wanted to give back to the community," Langlands added.

Every day at work, Langlands, an American Red Cross employee and a lieutenant in the Army Reserve, and Williamson, a cardiac nurse at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, witness the critical need for blood.

For some people, the availability of donated blood is the difference between life and death. As a result, the bride- and groom-to-be, who both have the universal blood type O-negative, are strong advocates of donating as often as possible.

"I see how often we use blood and how much we use in just one shift," Williamson said.

According to the most recent data from the National Blood Data Resource Center, U.S. hospitals transfused almost 14 million units of whole blood and red blood cells to 4.9 million patients in 2001, and the volume of blood transfused is increasing at the rate of 6 percent a year.

Langlands said the Red Cross needs 8,000 to 12,000 units, or donors, a day. In times of disaster or war, the demand is even greater.

For Langlands, helping others during the July 4th holiday week holds special meaning. A veteran of the Iraq War, he has seen firsthand the wounded soldiers who rely on donated blood from U.S. citizens.

"Charity is big around the holidays, but most people don't think of summer as a time for giving," Langlands said. "Accidents increase during the holiday weekend, but donors decrease because they're out celebrating."

Red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets are the main components of blood, and each component serves a different purpose, Langlands and Williamson explained.

A burn victim might need plasma, while someone suffering from liver failure might need platelets. Ultimately, it's possible to save four lives with just one donation, they said.

During a typical successful American Red Cross blood drive, about 80 people will donate blood. At the Langlands and Williamson double-staffed blood drive, which ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there were a total of 122 donors.

"We have some family and friends who live too far away and can't make it to our blood drive, but they are going to go donate in their own communities," Williamson said. "There are many people who don't normally donate, but they're doing it for us."

Langlands and Williamson will be wed on Aug. 10, 2008 at St. Mark's Church in Attleboro Falls, followed by a reception at Lakeview Pavilion in Foxboro.