Father’s close call a wake-up call for blood donor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2002

FERRIDAY &045; Everyone has a different reason for giving blood. Some do it out of guilt, some out of altruism, and some do it for the free T-shirt.

Vidalia resident Renee Alford, who dropped by the Concordia Parish Community Center Thursday afternoon for the sheriff’s office blood drive, started donating when her father, David Stephens, was stabbed during an attempted robbery.

It was late December of 1991, Alford said, and Stephens was in the back room of 84 Quick Stop, which he owned at the time.

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He heard his wife scream, then ran out and saw a man with a knife.

Stephens was stabbed several times in the abdomen and chest, fractions of an inch away from his heart, but he fought off his attacker with anything he could find.

&uot;He got a six pack of Cokes and beat they guy in the head with them,&uot; Alford said.

Stephens lost a lot of blood. Alford said the store &uot;looked like a slaughterhouse.&uot; As for her dad, she said, &uot;You could not even tell between the sheet and him &045; he was so white.&uot;

Alford said the incident gave her a different perspective on donating blood.

&uot;That’s when I realized that people needed blood,&uot; she said.

On Thursday, Alford didn’t have such an urgent reason for donating. She was just tagging along with her dad on a trip to Alexandria to do some Christmas shopping.

Stephens, who has continued to give blood even after being stabbed, was lured to the blood drive by a letter from LifeShare Blood Centers that promised a guardian angel mug for his third donation this year.

Somehow, the mugs didn’t make it to Ferriday, but Stephens said he didn’t mind. &uot;We’ll get him next time.&uot;

The sheriff’s office had set a goal of 50 blood donors for the drive.

At 6 p.m., though, only 25 pints had been collected.

&uot;For the holidays, I think we did pretty well,&uot; said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kathy Stevens.