Blood drives scheduled across county

Published 3:43 pm Friday, August 1, 2008

Over the next week, the county will host five blood drives to help meet LifeSouth’s emergency call for blood donors.

The county’s LifeSouth headquarters and donor center are in Alabaster, but the center’s bloodmobile will drive all over the county.

Galen Unold, director of recruitment and retention for LifeSouth, said the greater Birmingham area needs to get 650 donations a week. The area currently gets 450 a week, she said.

Shelby County is considered part of the greater Birmingham area for LifeSouth.

Donations have held steady at about 450 for the past month, Unold said.

“A lot of that is because it’s hot or it’s raining. We had a bloodmobile break down for a few days,” she said.

Unold said 30 percent of donations come from students, and student donations drop during the summer. Donor vacations also take a toll on blood centers, she said.

However, an emergency appeal is a last-ditch effort.

“We try to do as much as we can before we do that. We haven’t been on an emergency appeal in over two years,” Unold said. “We don’t want to scare donors. Some of them are going to have people they love in the hospital. We also don’t want them to think we’re crying wolf. We don’t want to do it all the time.”

Rachel Young, recruiter for the Shelby headquarters in Alabaster, said the center has been successful despite the emergency need.

“We’ve been able to maintain the levels that the hospitals require,” Young said. “The emergency need means the hospitals have what they need for now, but we have nothing else to give them. Homeland security asks that blood centers have a five-day supply on hand in case of a disaster.”

Young said the Shelby donor center serves Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster and Coosa Valley Medical Center in Sylacauga.

Unold said the need for blood is urgent.

“Need for blood never takes a holiday,” she said. “Whenever you see a blood mobile or a blood drive, come in. The need is constant.”

The Shelby bloodmobile will be in these locations over the next week: Aug. 2, the Calera Wal-Mart; Aug. 3, Riverchase Church of Christ on Valleydale Road; Aug. 5, the Inverness Wal-Mart; Aug. 6, Southern Family Health in Columbiana; Aug. 8, the Valleydale Road Winn-Dixie. For more information on any of these blood drives or to donate blood at the center, call 205-663-4050.