The Blood Vessel vehicle will become a frequent visitor at The Church at Liberty Square over the next two weeks. Starting today, Blood Assurance’s community blood drive will continue June 3, 12 and 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2001 Liberty Square Drive N.E. in Cartersville.
“At least 15 members of the church fell ill with COVID-19,” said Caitlyn Mantooth, marketing coordinator for Blood Assurance. “The members of the church want to give back to the community by hosting a blood drive and having members of the church who recovered from COVID-19 there to give convalescent plasma along with other members of the Bartow County community.
“It means a lot that members of the church and Bartow community want to help others who need blood and convalescent plasma. At this time when many organizations are not allowing Blood Assurance to conduct blood drives on location, having a community partner so willing to commit to give is amazing. Blood is essential in saving the lives of area patients and the need never stops.”
A full-service blood center, Blood Assurance was established in 1972 and assists medical facilities in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. In Bartow County, Blood Assurance has served as Cartersville Medical Center's sole blood supplier for more than 15 years.
“Our church, like so many others, has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jacob T. King, senior pastor at The Church at Liberty Square. “Our operations were moved to online-only for a season, which stretched us and caused us to rely on great creativity in order to stay connected to our congregation and community.
“The blood drive is a way of giving back to a city and region that has been so affected by this crisis. We continue to pray for the physical and spiritual healing of our city, and part of loving people is demonstrating that with action. This is one of many first steps.”
On June 12, the drive also will collect convalescent plasma from pre-selected donors who have recovered from COVID-19. Those interested in donating convalescent plasma can obtain more information and see if they qualify by visiting plasmatx.org.
According to a news release from Blood Assurance, “This plasma contains antibodies essential to fighting COVID-19 and can save a life of a critically ill [patient] battling it. All donors for this drive must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 verified by nasopharyngeal swab and be symptom free for 14 days. Donors of convalescent plasma will receive a special ‘Let’s save the world together’ T-shirt and other donors will receive a summer-themed pocket T-shirt.”
Locally, people also can donate blood by appointment only at Blood Assurance's Cartersville Donor Center at 334 Cherokee Place in the Main Street Shopping Center. The center is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Blood Assurance is in critical need of several blood types,” Mantooth said. “We have seen lower donations and higher usage in the last few weeks and the summer always brings shortages. We need to prepare now for high summer usage and encourage people to make an appointment to give at one of these drives or at our Cartersville center.”
Typically, most individuals 17 and older — 16 with parental consent — who weigh more than 110 pounds can donate blood every 56 days.
“We still have protocols in place to ensure the safety of donors and staff, including all staff wearing face masks, increased disinfecting of all surfaces donors will touch and spaced out appointments to allow social distancing,” Mantooth said. “We are accepting donors by appointments only.
“No walk-ins are being accepted at this time to ensure adequate space between donors. To schedule an appointment at this drive or at the Cartersville center, please call 800-962-0628, text BAGIVE to 999777 or visit bloodassurance.org/schedule.”