Augusta blood banks have seen a healthy supply of donations flow into their collection centers, but officials are imploring people not to stop giving.
Donors should not wait until the need is critical because testing and processing the blood takes time, said Greg Bearden, the assistant director of community resources for Shepeard Community Blood Center.
Blood supplies can drop quickly when hospitals treat patients requiring large amounts of blood.
“When a patient is in need, that’s not the time to give blood,” he said. “It has to be available and waiting on the shelf when it’s needed.”
Bearden said donors responded generously to several area blood drives during the holiday season.
Through New Year’s Eve, Shepeard’s mobile blood center will continue collecting donations at Regal Cinemas in Augusta and at Aiken Mall in exchange for a free movie ticket.
“We have maintained a steady, healthy inventory due to the great response of faithful donors during the holiday season,” Bearden said.
Shepeard encourages individuals to donate to prevent shortages or urgent needs. All blood types are welcome, but the most needed types are O-negative, O-positive, A-negative and B-negative, Bearden said.
In January, blood bank supplies dropped to extremely low levels in Augusta, prompting Shepeard to issue a plea for donations.
“Even faithful donors the rest of the year might forget to donate in November and December. But the need doesn’t decrease,” he said.
Donors must weigh 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old or 16 with written parental consent. Individuals must bring a photo ID and pass a screening and short physical exam.