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Mobile blood drive donations decrease in Augusta area

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The down economy affected area blood banks in surprising ways during 2011.

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Tommy Turner donates blood in the Blood Vessel bus, one of the Shepeard Community Blood Center's mobile donation centers, in the parking lot of Walmart in North Augusta. Mobile blood drives accounted for less overall donations to the blood supply in 2011.  Sara Caldwell/Staff
Sara Caldwell/Staff
Tommy Turner donates blood in the Blood Vessel bus, one of the Shepeard Community Blood Center's mobile donation centers, in the parking lot of Walmart in North Augusta. Mobile blood drives accounted for less overall donations to the blood supply in 2011.

Mobile blood drives accounted for less overall donations to the blood supply, a shift Shepeard Community Blood Center attributes to layoffs.

In 2011, mobile blood drives at workplaces, churches, stores and other spots represented 53 percent of total collections. That’s down from 62 percent in 2009, said Linda Petersen, the marketing manager for Shepeard. Donations at area blood centers total the remainder.

“With the economy as it is, it’s a little bit harder for people to donate at work,” Petersen said.

Cuts to the workforce mean fewer people in workplaces to donate during blood drives. The remaining workers might have a more difficult time getting away from their desks to donate, she said.

The good news, Petersen said, is that people continue to donate steadily, increasingly at area centers instead of mobile drives. The blood supply has maintained fair levels without falling into a critical shortage.

Each year, the blood center makes a big push to replenish supplies in January, which is also National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. Donations typically slow down during the holiday season because people have busier schedules, Petersen said. Four drives were held in the Augusta area Saturday.

“We need about 200 people to donate blood every day,” she said. “That’s seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

The American Red Cross South Carolina Blood Services Region, which includes the Augusta area, experiences a similar decline in January. The winter months bring an increase in colds, flus and seasonal allergies among donors, said Jamie Muldrow, the communications manager.

Muldrow said area blood banks supplied by the American Red Cross have low supplies of B-negative and O-negative blood types.

Donors should not wait for emergency situations to give blood, Petersen said. As of this week, blood types in greatest need by Shepeard Community Blood Centers are B-positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative.

“There’s somebody’s tragedy happening all the time,” she said. “There is always somebody somewhere that needs blood.”

WANT TO DONATE?
  • Give blood Sunday at New Life Christian Center, 3336 Wrightsboro Road, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Visit www.shepeardblood.org to find more upcoming mobile blood drives, the qualifications for donating, and hours and information for the three area blood centers.
  • For additional blood drives, visit www.redcrossblood.org/sc.
Comments (3) Add comment
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dstewartsr
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dstewartsr 01/07/12 - 05:54 pm
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Probably have better results

Probably have better results if they didn't disqualify the strongest block of donors in the CSRA; healthy, willing military retirees who served in Europe three DECADES ago are barred. First they lied and covered up about HIV/AIDS, then quietly began testing; now they want to claim public safety is paramount to exclude mad cow disease from the blood supply. Exactly how many people have contracted the disease?

Frankly, in my not very humble opinion (as a holder of a 100-Pint donor pin while in the service), civilian blood donation is a scam- anyone who has been transfused can tell you they charge an appendage not only for the transfusion procedure, but 200-year old scotch prices for the blood . . . which was donated. The military is a completely different circumstance.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 01/08/12 - 09:45 am
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My sister works at "one of

My sister works at "one of the hospitals in Columbia County" and she said they used to be allowed the few minutes to leave their positions to go donate blood. Recently she asked if she and her co-workers could stagger the time and go donate and she was told "No, not any more. Either do it during your lunch break or when you get off.". So, the economy is not the only problem that is getting in the way of people donating. You know, you'd think a hospital would understand and would encourage it's employees to donate.

lpetersen
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lpetersen 01/09/12 - 02:34 pm
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I can certainly relate to

I can certainly relate to these comments! One of the challenges we face is that just 37 percent of the population is able to donate blood. The restrictions that are referred to by dstewartsr are not Shepeard rules. These are Food and Drug Administration regulations that Shepeard is required to abide by since we are regulated by the FDA. We are grateful for those who can donate and are willing to save local lives.

Shepeard, a non-profit organization with 30+ years in the community, partners with volunteer blood donors to support patients in 20 local hospitals. Per the FDA regulations, Shepeard doess not pay for blood donations nor does it charge for the blood. There are costs associated with collecting and processing blood, however, and Shepeard charges a modest processing fee to the hospitals, and this fee is one of the lowest processing fees in the country.

37 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood but just 10 percent actually take time to donate. If you are healthy and able to take time to donate, your blood donation with Shepeard can help to save 3 local lives.

Great discussion!

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