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Winter storms increase the need for blood

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
LifeSouth Donor Services Specialist Adam Ward attempts to draw a blood donation from Stockbridge resident, Brandon Dubbs, a regular blood donor at LifeSouth.

Photo by Johnny Jackson LifeSouth Donor Services Specialist Adam Ward attempts to draw a blood donation from Stockbridge resident, Brandon Dubbs, a regular blood donor at LifeSouth.

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The LifeSouth Community Blood Center in McDonough managed to achieve its daily average donor count on Friday with the blood donation of Stockbridge resident, Brandon Dubbs.

The blood center had served four donors by 2 p.m., despite a driving snow which blanketed the Southside and forced schools and businesses to close early.

Donations tend to diminish in number at this time of year, according to Jil Osborne, donor consultant with Life South. "Any time there is inclement weather, we see a decline in donations due to people not going to blood drives to donate when they normally would," Osborne said. "As a contrast, we see an increase in need, because unfavorable travel conditions cause an increase in car accidents."

Osborne said LifeSouth is a primary provider of blood to several hospitals and medical facilities throughout the Southern Crescent. It is the sole provider of blood for Henry Medical Center in Stockbridge. "We provide Henry Medical Center with an average of 370 to 400 products per month," she said.

LifeSouth Community Blood Center in McDonough, located at 329 Westridge Parkway, has seen an increased number of donations since it opened in 2008, she continued. "Last year, we drew just over 5,000 donors, which was our best year, yet, in the Southern Crescent Region," said Osborne. She added, however, that the need for blood and blood-platelet donations has also grown.

The need for blood-platelet donations remains urgent for the American Red Cross, also, which saw donations dwindle this past week, as a result of the record-breaking snowstorm in the Northeast, according to April Phillips, a communications specialist with the Red Cross.

"Platelet donors are unable to come to centers to donate, but patients in hospitals need platelets," Phillips said. "The American Red Cross is asking platelet donors in areas not impacted by the weather to come in and donate platelets immediately."

She said the Red Cross accepts blood and platelet donations through its South Metro Donor Center, at 675 Southcrest Pkwy., Suite 120, in Stockbridge. Whole blood donors can also donate at the Camp Creek Donor Center, at 3645 Marketplace Blvd., Suite 180, in East Point, Ga.

The Red Cross plans to host blood drives at various sites in both Henry and Clayton counties, including a drive this Sunday at Berea Christian Church, 37 Woosley Road in Hampton, from noon until 5 p.m.

In Henry County, the Red Cross will be collecting blood donations at The Lodge at Heron Bay, 3080 Heron Bay Blvd., in Locust Grove, from 10 a.m., until 3 p.m., on Feb. 27.

Salem Baptist Church, 1724 Highway 155 in McDonough, will facilitate a blood drive on March 3, from 2:30 p.m., until 7:30 p.m. McDonough Presbyterian Church, 427 McGarity Road in McDonough, is scheduled to hold a blood on March 15, from 2 p.m., until 7 p.m.

There are six different sites scheduled for Red Cross blood drives in Clayton County through March. Christians for Change Baptist Church, 2110 Bethsaida Road in Riverdale, will host a blood drive on Feb. 20, from 9 a.m., until 2 p.m. Brown Elementary School, 9771 Poston Road in Jonesboro, plans to conduct a drive on Feb. 24, from 2 p.m., until 6 p.m.

The Clayton County law-enforcement community is also supporting the Red Cross with two drives on March 17, from 10 a.m., until 3 p.m. Donors can visit the Clayton County Police Department, 7911 North McDonough Street in Jonesboro, or the Clayton County Sheriff's Department, 9157 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro.

Other blood drives include Southern Regional Medical Center, 11 West Upper Riverdale Road in Riverdale, on March 23, and at Georgia Power General Services, 62 Lake Mirror Road, Building R, in Forest Park, on March 25. Both drives are scheduled to be held between 10 a.m., and 3 p.m.

Platelet donations can be made at Red Cross blood donation centers by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. To contact the LifeSouth Community Blood Center in McDonough for an appointment, call (678) 432-0637.