Blood drives respond to emergency need

Published 7:32 pm Friday, July 29, 2011

With an emergency need for “O-Negative” blood and a shortage of overall supply, organizers are hoping the community will respond generously to upcoming blood drives.

April Stinson, donor recruiter for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, said there is an extreme need for blood donors.

“We have an emergency need for O-negative blood, which is the universal donor meaning they can give to all blood types,” Stinson said.

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Stinson said that often times many individuals might shy away from donating blood because they may have a fear of needles.

Even so, Stinson said she encourages people to “donate to see if they can handle it.”

“Think about the patient. The patient might not like needles either, but people that have to receive blood have to be stuck with needles all the time,” Stinson said. “If it were you or one of your family members, you wouldn’t want a potential blood donor to say they were afraid of needles. It will only take about five minutes of your time.”

Stinson said the procedure during blood donation requires the needle to stay in the arm four to six minutes on average.

“If you try it one time, you will be able to say whether you can do it or not,” Stinson said. “After their first time, then they can say whether they are scared of needles.”

Stinson said most people who give blood don’t like it, but are doing it to serve a greater purpose.

“Most people that do it don’t like it, but they are doing it for the many people who are in dire need of blood,” Stinson said.

The LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Inc., will be hosting several upcoming blood drives in the local area on the following dates, at the following locations: on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at La Bella Vita of Troy from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Wednesday Aug. 3, at Walgreen’s of Troy from 9 a.m. – noon and Wal-Mart of Troy from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

According to LifeSouth statistics, one in every seven patients entering hospitals needs blood and each year, nearly 5 million Americans need a blood transfusion.

LifeSouth is aiming to collect 266,000 blood donations a year, which amounts to 728 donors a day.

It doesn’t take much preparation at all to donate, according to Stinson, but she said it might be a good idea to eat a good breakfast beforehand.

“When it comes to eating and drinking, there’s not really anything that donors have to stay away from,” Stinson said. “We do, however, encourage people to eat prior to donating blood and to drink plenty of fluids afterward because your body is losing fluids by giving blood. You just have to replace it.”

For more information regarding blood donations and upcoming blood drives, please call Judy Russell, South Alabama District Director, at (334) 260-3602 or April Stinson at (334) 657-2773.