Held in January each year, National Blood Donor Month is an annual effort to remind people of the need for blood donations after the holiday season.
“Education and awareness is crucial to our nonprofit,” said Bonnie Phillips, marketing coordinator for Blood Assurance, Cartersville Medical Center’s sole supplier of blood products. “Obviously, every blood center in the nation is doing something for National Blood Donor month, but it is very important for everyone to donate if you can and right now since so many have the flu or something else, it’s even more imperative that if you are healthy and well and can donate we need you to donate because the blood supplies are dropping. It’s always hard around the holidays and so to bounce back from the holidays, we’re trying to do an extra push to get people in.”
Blood banks also encourage regular and new donors to consider donating blood as a method of following up on New Year’s resolutions, either to volunteer or to donate.
“Blood has a shelf life of only 42 days and must continually be replenished,” stated a Red Cross press release. “Every two seconds, someone in the United States has a need for blood. The American Red Cross relies on volunteer donors to ensure blood is available when patients need it. A single blood donation could help save more than one life.”
The American Red Cross will be holding a blood drive at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main St., on Friday, Jan. 25, from noon to 5:30 p.m. and at the Cartersville Wal-Mart, 101 Market Blvd., Friday, Feb. 1, from noon to 5 p.m.
Blood Assurance operates a donation center in Cartersville open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 921 B Joe Frank Harris Parkway in the Collins Pointe Plaza, near Goodwill.
Blood Assurance is specifically in need of O-negative and B-negative, but welcome donors of all types. Donors must be 18 or older, or 16 with parental consent, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Other factors also may affect donor eligibility, including wellness. Phillips described a sense of urgency for potential donors, but urges those wishing to give to feel well before donating blood.
“If you’re sick, we don’t want you to come in. We want you to feel 100 percent when you come in,” Phillips said. “The blood supply is very low, especially on O-negative and B-negative. O-negative is the universal type, so if you’re in that trauma situation, whether in the helicopter or in the ambulance or at the hospital, they’re not going to type you, they’re just going to give you the O-negative if you’re in that bleeding trauma situation. That’s why O-negative is so important, but B-negative is also a rare blood type that is in short supply right now. As of this morning, we also need other types — including B-positive and O-positive.”
For more information, call the Cartersville donation center at 770-334-3261 or the Blood Assurance hotline at 1-800-962-0628.