By Johnny Jackson
Officials are urging residents to donate blood this Fourth of July, and commit to donations year-round.
Blood banks across the state are in great need now, according to Jil Osborne, spokesperson for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. "We're currently in full emergency appeal for all negative blood types," Osborne said.
Osborne said that, although people know there is a need for blood, they sometimes have to be motivated to put forth the extra effort to show up to blood drives. "A lot of times, you have to make it personal for yourself to realize why its important for you to donate," she said. "But it's the easiest way to be a hero. Literally, it saves lives."
LifeSouth helps supply blood to Henry Medical Center and several other hospitals in its various service areas statewide, according to Osborne. "We collect the blood from the community, and we supply blood for the community," she said. "It stays in the metro area."
Henry Medical Center uses the blood in many capacities to treat patience's there, according to Michelle Nunnally, spokeswoman for Henry Medical Center. "The drives that we do with LifeSouth and the blood collected from the blood drives here in Henry County, stay in Henry County, for the most part," Nunnally said. "Our partnership with LifeSouth is a great one."
Osborne said most healthy people, age 17 and older, or 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given safely every two weeks, for up to 24 times a year.
"It's a wonderfully, selfless act," Osborne continued. "Everyone that I can think of has a loved one - or family, or friends - who has experienced some sort of trauma where a blood transfusion was needed to save that person's life. There is no substitution for human blood."
Blood supplies are low this summer, partly because of the summer break at local schools and partly because of the summer-holiday season, said Tracye Bryant, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region.
"Here in Georgia, more than 20 percent of our blood donations come from high school blood drives," Bryant said. "During the summer months, people are out on vacation and there becomes a need for more blood donations.
"We do encourage people to come and schedule appointments throughout the summer months," Bryant added. "The need for blood is constant. So, we need dedicated volunteers to donate blood so that we can stock shelves with blood for the more than 120 hospitals that we service throughout the state of Georgia."
Donors may schedule a blood-donation appointment with the American Red Cross at South Metro Donor Center, by calling (678) 284-0957, or visiting the Red Cross web site. The South Metro Donor Center is located at 675 Southcrest Pkwy., Suite 120, in Stockbridge.
LifeSouth's Southern Crescent Donor Center has various initiatives to encourage residents to donate, including its Sundae Sundays event, in which donors get free ice cream.
The Southern Crescent Donor Center, located at 329 Westridge Parkway in McDonough, will be hosting a donation drive Saturday, from 9 a.m., until 4 p.m., honoring military heroes.
On Tuesday, the center will partner with Truett's Grill of McDonough for a blood drive, in which donors receive a free Truett's combo meal, said Osborne.
She said residents should learn more about the drive, or make future blood donation appointments at the Southern Crescent Donor Center by calling (678) 432-0637, or visiting the LifeSouth web site.
On the net:
American Red Cross: www.redcross.org