2017-07-13 / Front Page

Blood shortage critical at hospitals; local drives today can help replenish

There is less than a one-day supply of O+, O-, B+ and B- blood types on the shelves for local patients in need, according to the Shepeard Community Blood Center. “Approaching the long holiday weekend, our shelves were stocked and inventory was sufficient for the 19 hospitals in 30 counties for which we are the sole source of blood and blood products,” stated Kevin Belanger, president and CEO of Shepeard.

Wilkes County residents will have the opportunity to donate locally this Thursday, July 13, at two locations. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Shepeard Bloodmobile will be at Wills Memorial Hospital; and then from 3-5 p.m. it will be at Berry Plastics at 199 Edison Drive in Washington.

“To be in this urgent blood need just after the Fourth of July is unfortunate, but not uncommon. Families travel and high schools are closed for the summer which always contribute to summer shortages. Right now, I am asking individuals to make a commitment to donate blood twice in the next 16 weeks to support the mission of saving lives,” continued Belanger.

“There is no substitute for blood and we are struggling to keep enough blood on the shelves right now for all of the patients that need it,” Director of Community Resources Pamela Rascon said. “Many donors that have come into our center to try and donate have just not hydrated as well as they should have with this heat and have been temporarily deferred due to dehydration. With busy schedules it is difficult for them to get back in to try again after they hydrate better. We encourage all community members to hydrate well daily, and especially if they are going to donate blood. Remember to eat a full meal at least one hour prior to your donation and avoid fried and fatty foods.”

If you are healthy and well, weigh at least 110 pounds, have not donated blood in the last eight weeks, and are at least 17 years old; you may donate blood at one of the locations listed below or call one the following numbers for information on additional mobile drives.

If you are 16 years old, you may donate with a signed parental consent form. Parental consent forms may be downloaded from shepeardblood.org. All donors will receive a free Shepeard T-shirt. Donors will also receive a free health screening and post-donation refreshments.

Shepeard Community Blood Centers are located at 1533 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta (706-737-4551; Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.); and 4329 Washington Road in Evans (706-854-1582; Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Sunday noon-5 p.m.)

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