Red Cross calls for blood donors

By Johnny Jackson


In the wake of natural disasters, area residents and volunteers have inspired hope with their deeds of generosity and caring. Such is the goal of officials with the American Red Cross.

They are calling on the community to help replenish diminished blood supplies, by donating blood.

The need for blood is constant, according to Randy Edwards, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. "The past several months have been challenging," Edwards said. "But blood donors have still been coming out to help people in our community and across the country.

"We hope this trend will continue through the summer, and that people will see donating blood as an opportunity to give back without having to reach into their wallets."

Kroger customers and associates across the Southeast collectively reached into their wallets and donated more than $151,000 to benefit the Red Cross, which is assisting the thousands of people affected by severe storms in late April, according to Glynn Jenkins, director of communications and public relations for Kroger's Atlanta Division.

Jenkins said that, from April 30, to May 14, Kroger shoppers throughout the Atlanta Division rounded up their purchases to the nearest dollar, adding the difference to donations for the Red Cross and disaster relief efforts.

Residents can still help others, by donating blood, or platelets, to the Red Cross. Several opportunities are available, according to April Phillips, spokeswoman for the Southern Blood Services Region.

Phillips said the South Metro Blood Donation Center -- located at 675 Southcrest Parkway, in Stockbridge -- is typically open on Tuesdays through Saturdays. The center will take part in the Red Cross Memorial Day Giveaway, from May 27, through May 31. The Red Cross will be collecting blood, or platelet donations, for gifts and prizes.

The organization plans to partner with radio station, 97.1 the River, in order to host its Fifth Annual "Drive for Life" event on May 31. The drive will be held, from 9 a.m., until 7 p.m., in the infield media center at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 Highway 19/41, in Hampton.

Phillips said all presenting donors will receive a T-shirt, a ticket to an upcoming Thursday Thunder Race, a Pace Car Ride around the Speedway, and a chance to win a race weekend package for the upcoming Sprint Cup Series Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, in September.

Additionally, the Red Cross plans to host a blood drive at Southern Region Medical Center on Monday, May 23, from 10 a.m., until 3 p.m. The organization is a primary provider for the hospital, located at 11 West Upper Riverdale Road, in Riverdale.

Other late spring blood drives in the area include one to be held June 1, at Georgia Power General Services, 62 Lake Mirror Road Building in Forest Park; one on June 3, at Heart Pharmacy, 712 Springdale Drive in Riverdale; another on June 4, at Cycle Nation of McDonough, 755 Industrial Blvd., in McDonough; and one on June 18, at SunTrust Bank, 7575 Ga. Highway 85, in Riverdale.

The blood drives will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Phillips said the Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region must have 1,200 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet the demand of more than 120 hospitals in the region.

The spokeswoman said blood can be safely donated every 56 days, and platelets can be safely extracted every two weeks, up to 24 times a year.

Phillips noted that 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. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

To learn more, or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or visit www.redcrossblood.org.