By Johnny Jackson
The winter storm that has pounded north Georgia, and left its mark across the Southeast and East Coast, has triggered an emergency need for blood in the Southeast Region, according to officials at blood centers.
The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region reported an estimated 2,600 units of blood and platelets were not collected because of canceled blood drives, and the inability of donors to participate in drives, because of hazardous weather conditions through Wednesday afternoon.
"Blood donors are desperately needed at this time," said Renee Wright, the district community development coordinator for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. "The weather this week shut down collections for all Georgia blood centers, resulting in a critical blood supply shortage."
LifeSouth Community Blood Center is Henry Medical Center's primary blood supplier, Wright added, noting an emergency blood drive has been organized for Jan. 17, at the hospital in Stockbridge. The drive will take place, at 1133 Eagle's Landing Pkwy., from 11 a.m., until 5 p.m. She said donors must be at least 16 years old, with parental permission for minors, and possess photo identification.
Wright noted the LifeSouth bloodmobile will be at the McDonough Post Office, today, from 1 p.m., to 5 p.m., and at the Henry County Water and Sewage Authority, Friday from 7 a.m., until 1 p.m.
Additionally, the community development coordinator said the LifeSouth Donor Center in McDonough, at 329 Westridge Parkway, will be open today as well, from 9 a.m., until 7 p.m. The center will be open Friday, from 9 a.m., until 3 p.m., and Saturday, from 8 a.m., until 2 p.m.
American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region officials have also reopened blood donation centers across the state. Red Cross blood donation centers will be open, from 10 a.m., until 4 p.m.
Southern Blood Services Region spokeswoman April Phillips said the South Metro Blood Donation Center -- located at 675 Southcrest Pkwy., in Stockbridge -- will be open from 10 a.m., until 4 p.m., today.
Phillips said the center will be open special hours, from 8 a.m., until 5 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, and from 7 a.m., until 3 p.m., on Sunday. The special hours, she said, are an effort to recover potentially lost donations during, and after the winter storm. The center is typically open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, between noon, and 7 p.m., and from 8 a.m., until 3 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays.
The City of Riverdale Fire Department plans to host Clayton County's first American Red Cross Blood Drive of the new year, on Friday, from 10 a.m., until 3 p.m., at department headquarters, 6690 Church St., in Riverdale, noted Phillips.
In Henry County, the 'McDonough O Team,' at McDonough Presbyterian Church, plans to host a blood drive from 2 p.m., to 7 p.m., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17. The church is located at 427 McGarity Road in McDonough.
All blood donors are needed, but there is a special need for type O and type B blood donors, according Phillips, who is urging all donors to donate as soon as the weather, and travel conditions, permit.
To schedule an appointment with the Red Cross, or to find a local blood donation opportunity, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or visit www.redcrossblood.org.
To learn more about donating to LifeSouth, call toll-free at (888) 795-2707, or visit www.lifesouth.org.