Blood donations needed now more than ever in CSRA

The American Red Cross is collecting blood and monetary donations to help with relief efforts...
The American Red Cross is collecting blood and monetary donations to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida.(Photo source: Mike Mohundro KFVS)
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 2:38 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In fear of another blood shortage crisis, three local blood centers are urging people to donate during the holiday season.

Historically, donor turnout drops to dangerous levels during winter months due to holidays, travel, visiting family and dangerous weather. A similar drop occurs in the summer months, as well.

But you can make a difference.

“It is our neighbors, our family, and our friends that are impacted when blood products are not available,” said Katie Smithson with The Blood Connection.

Shepeard Community Blood Center

The Shepeard Community Blood Center partners with volunteer blood donors to provide blood products to 29 hospitals and emergency services in the CSRA.

Renita Carroll, Shepeard’s director of community resources, said there are patients in need even when people are busy shopping, traveling and preparing for holiday meals and gatherings instead of donating blood.

“We are in critical need of O negative donors, but we encourage everyone, regardless of blood type, to come out and donate,” Carroll said. “The blood donation process is quick and typically takes less than an hour. One blood donation can save up to three local lives.”

Blood donation is one of the most lifesaving ways to give back this holiday season. Any business, community organization, place of worship or individual can reach out to Shepeard to arrange a blood drive.

Donors can call Shepeard at 706-737-4551 if they have questions or would like to schedule an appointment. Donors can also visit https://www.shepeardblood.org for a list of drives.

Shepeard donor centers include:

  • Augusta: 1533 Wrightsboro Road, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
  • Evans: 4329 Washington Road, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Aiken: 353 Fabian Drive, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The American Red Cross-Augusta Chapter

The American Red Cross urges eligible individuals to give blood and help patients both locally and in impacted areas continue to have access to lifesaving blood.

In January, the nation experienced its worst blood shortage in over a decade due to ongoing collection challenges and varied hospital demand during the pandemic.

But whether donations are up or down, 1 in 7 patients entering a hospital will need a blood transfusion.

Susan Landreth-Everitt, Augusta’s chapter executive director, says donated blood stays local first if there is a need.

But if donations exceed the local need, blood can be shipped where it can help most.

“The Red Cross national inventory management system can move blood around the country to wherever and whenever it is needed most,” Landreth-Everitt said. “It’s important to remember that blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled.”

The local Red Cross accepts donations through blood drives and outreach events. The find one, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767.

The Blood Connection

The Blood Connection, a newcomer to Augusta, collects 800 to 1,000 units of blood a day to supply hospitals in the Carolinas and Georgia, including Doctors Hospital here.

Katie Smithson with The Blood Connection says: “We know that donor turnout dips during the holidays and winter months while hospital requests increase, so we must have a steady supply of blood products available when they are needed.”

She said it only takes one day of low collections to create an urgent need for blood products.

While the organization isn’t currently experiencing a blood shortage, it’s seeing a shortage of blood donors.

If you’re interested in donating blood, just go to thebloodconnection.org/donate or call 864-751-1154.

The Blood Connection is at 3156 Perimeter Parkway Suite 201. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Blood Drive Events

  • World of Beer- Dec. 3/4., from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 2819 Washington Road, Augusta, Ga. All donors will receive a coupon for a selected pint of beer and a $20 electronic gift card.
  • Elegant Bridals- Dec. 9., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3225 River Watch Parkway, Augusta, Ga.
  • North Augusta Walmart- Dec. 9., 2 to 7 p.m., 1041 Edgefield Road North Augusta, S.C. 29860
  • WRDW News 12- Dec. 12., from 12 to 6:30 p.m., 1226 Gray Way, Augusta, Ga. Free pizza slice and t-shirt for each donor, photo identification required.
  • Liberty Park Community Center Gym- Jan. 13., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1040 Newmantwon Road Grovetown, Ga. 30813.
  • Sacred Heart Cultural Center- Jan. 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1301 Greene Street, Augusta, Ga. 30901.