Upcoming donation opportunities
• Liberty County: 1-6 p.m. Friday, July 29, at Liberty Regional Medical Center at 462 E.G. Miles Parkway in Hinesville.
• Bryan County: 1-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at
Pembroke United Methodist Church at 102 North College St.
• Chatham County: There is a permanent donation center in Savannah at 25 Tibet Ave. that opens at 11 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 8 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition to providing hope and shelter to disaster victims, the American Red Cross also provides blood to those in need. However, the Red Cross currently is experiencing its worse blood shortage of the past 12 years.
“Georgia is a national import region, so we ship blood to where it’s needed most,” said Tracye Bryant, the communications manager at the Red Cross. “But the problem is we get patients from other areas who come to Georgia for treatment at our hospitals and don’t donate blood to our region. About 60,000 people who receive blood in Georgia are from other states.”
There are several ways to donate. Blood always is needed, but double red cells and platelets also can be donated.
Administrators test potential candidates with a simple finger stick to determine health and hemoglobin levels before they can donate. The process takes only about 10 minutes.
Some people avoid donating blood because they are afraid of needles. However, Red Cross workers say the chance to save lives should outweigh any fear people have about donating.
“The process is relatively painless. You don’t even feel it once they’ve got the needle in,” Bryant said.
Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood, according to an American Red Cross news release. Car wreck victims, sickle cell patients, hemophiliacs and chemotherapy patients all need blood in order to stay alive during their hospital stays.
One donation can save up to three people’s lives. All types of blood are needed, but O negative especially is in demand because it is the universal blood type that can be used for any patient.
Upon donating, volunteers will receive donor cards with their blood types, which someday could be instrumental in saving their lives.
In order to help combat the blood shortage, the Red Cross has extended its hours to accommodate more people’s schedules. The organization is trying to move blood to where it’s needed most, but it still needs to replenish supplies now more than ever.
“We just want people to get out there, roll up their sleeves and donate,” Bryant said.
For more information about donating blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or go to www.redcrossblood.org.