Rachel and Robbie Scurry are among the thousands of out-of-town visitors in Augusta this week, but theirs is not a pleasure trip.
The couple from Cayce, S.C., are holding vigil at Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital over their 20-year-old son, Justin, who was badly burned in a traffic accident last week.
While traffic slows at other hospitals in town during Masters week as doctors vacation and few elective surgeries are scheduled, the pace doesn't let up at the burn center.
"We don't really slow down a whole lot for Masters because we get patients from all over the Southeast, not just from the CSRA," said Lore Rogers, the director of burn services.
And that means that two precious commodities - blood donors and affordable places to stay - are even more scarce.
The Jeffrey Vaden Chavis House at the Shirley Badke Burn Retreat was full last week when Justin Scurry was transferred by helicopter from a hospital in Columbia.
"We were concerned because the retreat was full and we knew this week was going to be a horrible week to try to find accommodations we could afford," Mrs. Scurry said. "No. 1, to find them, and No. 2, to find something that we could afford."
It's a concern every year, Mrs. Rogers said.
"It's always a problem for our families. They get kicked out of their hotel rooms," she said. "They're there for sometimes a couple of months, and then Masters week comes and either they have to pay ... extraordinary prices or leave."
A lack of locals also means fewer people willing to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.
"It is very hard to have any blood drives in the Augusta area," said Dr. Volker Dube, the medical director for Shepeard Community Blood Center. "We try to compensate by going farther out, by going into Burke County, and McDuffie County and Aiken County. It makes up a little bit."
The need still is great, particularly among burn patients who typically use a pint of blood for each percentage of area burned, Mrs. Rogers said.
"For us to be so busy and then not to have blood available can be critical for our patients," she said.
Justin Scurry, for instance, already has received 12 units of red blood cells and 20 units of clotting factor.
While he lies in an induced coma to help him heal, his family and girlfriend, Kayla Davenport, read get well cards aloud to him and talk to him.
"You feel totally helpless," Mrs. Scurry said. "I can't help those doctors. I can only talk to Justin and tell him he's the best and the strongest kid around and encourage him and hope that he can hear me. And then I can give blood."
"We feel like we're being uplifted with prayers. We're confident that God has a plan," Mrs. Scurry said, her strong voice breaking a little. "We just have to be patient with that."
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213, or email@example.com.
BETTER TO GIVE
Shepeard Community Blood Center is operating at its normal hours this week and is still looking for donors. You can donate this week at the following locations:
- Shepeard Community Blood Center, 1533 Wrightsboro Road, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Shepeard Community Blood Center Evans, 460 N. Belair Road, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Shepeard Blood Center West, 112 Davis Road, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Shepeard Community Blood Center Aiken, 353 Fabian Drive, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be a blood drive for Justin Scurry at his old high school, Brookland-Cayce High School, in Cayce, S.C., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21. A drive is also being scheduled on his behalf in Aiken.