New Red Cross site opens in Hoover

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2008

By AMY GORDON / Staff Writer

HOOVER — Shelby County’s newest Red Cross site, located in Hoover, is open and ready to work overtime collecting blood.

There tend to be shortages of available blood in the summer, said Ryan Sherman, a Red Cross account manager.

“You don’t have as many donors because high schools and colleges are out on summer break and people are on vacation,” he said. “The last thing on their minds is giving blood.”

Sherman said many people schedule surgeries during the summer months because it’s easier to get time off work, and blood is needed for that. The most pressing need, however, is for emergency situations.

“A lot of people travel during the summer and so we see an increase in traffic accidents and emergency procedures,” Sherman said.

In the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Region, the Red Cross needs to collect 800 pints of blood each weekday to supply enough for 100 hospitals and healthcare centers. The region covers all of Alabama and the coast area of Mississippi.

A pint of blood is taken from each donor. Since not every potential donor is actually able to give blood, it usually takes closer to 1,100 donors to get 800 pints, Sherman said.

Those that do donate, however, are helping a tremendous number of people.

“When you actually donate, you have the potential to save up to three lives,” he said.

While all blood types are needed, Type O negative is the most valuable. Type O negative is known as the universal donor, which means anyone can receive the blood without the body rejecting it.

“In emergency situations, they may not have time to figure out blood type,” Sherman said.

At the Hoover Red Cross site the goal is to receive 21 pints per month, Sherman said.

“We hope to collect more than that, but so far we’ve been very successful,” he said.

Volunteers can donate blood every two months.

To sweeten the deal for unsure donors, the Hoover Red Cross will enter all blood donors into a monthly drawing to win a $1,000 gas gift card during the months of July, August and September.

The drawings are just a means to an end, though. Katy Stowe, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said Shelby County’s a largely untapped market.

“We are hoping that more people in the Shelby County area will start donating more frequently — at least two or three times a year,” she said.

The Hoover Red Cross site is open for blood donors from noon-6 p.m. on Mondays. The site is located at 4524 Southlake Parkway, Suite 5