With supply levels roughly half of where they were in June a year ago, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is hoping citizens will respond to the organization’s upcoming campaign of blood drives and boost the Southern Blood Services Region back above critical levels.
Starting this Saturday, the Red Cross will give Valdostan’s four opportunities, over a six-day span, to revamp the region’s severely low supply of blood.
The string of blood drives will supplement what may be a lackluster Independence Day drive, due to summer travel and the 4th landing on a Wednesday this year.
“Many regular donors got an early start on summmer activities and aren’t taking time to give blood or platelets,” according a statement released from the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
“In addition, this year’s mid-week Independence Day holiday has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. Many sponsors, especially businesses, are unable to host drives because employees are taking extended vacations.”
The Red Cross needs over 17,000 pints of blood daily, from donors around the country, according to Randy Edwards, CEO of the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. He said that the region is tasked with collecting 1,200 pints a day.
“Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies – when there are complications during childbirth – and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell,” according to the Red Cross’s Donor Recruitment Representative, Will Fricks.
Five more people will need a blood transfusion in the time it takes you to count to 10, according to figures from the Red Cross’ website, and one pint of blood has the potential to save three of those individuals.
Three life-saving products can be transfused from a single donation, according to the website.
Donation takes roughly an hour and 15 minutes in all, and the majority of that time is generally spent ensuring that you are fit enough to make a healthy donation.
Refreshments are usually served after the donation.
And if you visit the Red Cross’ Valdosta Donor Center on July 4, those refreshments will include a two-piece meal from KFC and a Pepsi to accompany it.
The first 20 donors will receive lunch on site, while those who come later will receive a voucher for the same combination.
All July 4 donors will also be entered into a WCTV drawing for four Atlanta Braves Tickets, tenth row and on the Braves’ side. Valet parking is included.
Call 1-800-RED-Cross (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to set an appointment at your local Red Cross’s donor center or to schedule a visit at an upcoming blood drive.
The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization that supplies over 40 percent of the nation’s blood. The organization provides support to victims of disaster, both stateside and internationally.
Upcoming Blood Drives in Valdosta
Saturday, June 30 — Langdale Honda Kia 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, July 3 — Lowe’s of Valdosta 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 4 — Valdosta Donor Center 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Valdosta Mall 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 5 — South Georgia Medical Center 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.