Each year as schools let out and regular donors travel out of town, donations drop — on top of that outdoor activity and trauma increases, creating a rise in demand. To combat the annual shortage, Blood Assurance and Red Cross urge residents to give the gift of life.
For patients receiving care in many area hospitals, including Cartersville Medical Center, Chattanooga-based Blood Assurance is the sole provider of blood and blood components.
“Oftentimes in summer during June, July and August, we struggle to get the donations that we need,” said Blood Assurance Donor Recruiter Amy Covington. “Schools typically provide 16 percent of our donations and they are out during the summer, many people are on vacations and some of our manufacturers don’t allow summer donations due to the heat. So if you take those three things together, it can make it a challenge to get the blood that we need. And we are the sole supplier of blood to Cartersville Medical, to Rome, to Redmond, Floyd, Gordon Hospital and really about 50 local hospitals.”
Blood Assurance operates a permanent, full-time donation center in Cartersville at the Collin’s Pointe Plaza near Goodwill. They also offer mobile donation sites via the blood mobile bus at remote locations throughout the county. To increase donations this summer, Blood Assurance is looking for businesses to host blood drives.
“We’re looking for local businesses to partner with us in this lifesaving mission,” Covington said. “We can bring our bus to their parking lot or we can set up inside with our donor representative who can take donations if they have a room.
“We’re looking for days within July and August and if they’ll contact me, I have a list of days that are still up for the bus.”
Donors of every blood type are needed, although Red Cross specifies that a severe need has been demonstrated for O-negative, A-negative and B-negative. Potential donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old or 16 with parental consent. During the month of July, Blood Assurance donors can enter to win a $500 gas card.
The Cartersville Blood Assurance Donation Center, 921 B Joe Frank Harris Parkway, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 770-334-3261 or visit www.bloodassurance.org.
To find Red Cross blood drives, visit www.redcross.org or call 800-RED-CROSS.