With your help, the Red Cross can save more lives

Published 5:08 pm Monday, January 7, 2013

Michael Horton of Vestavia donates life-saving platelets with Rita Lawson checking on him. (Contributed)

By DALE BRAKHAGE / Community Columnist

The most recognized symbol in the world is the Red Cross. When people see the Red Cross on a white background, they know help is on the way.

The Red Cross provides warm meals, clothing and places to sleep after disasters. It also provides life-saving blood, community education and services to our Armed Forces.

The Red Cross provides half the nation’s blood. Surgery patients, accident victims and cancer patients need blood every day. There is no substitute for blood. It comes from caring donors. Now it is easy for Indian Springs villagers age 17 and older who weigh 110 pounds or more to donate.

Last March, the American Red Cross relocated its Blood Services facility to Indian Springs. The facility is located just up the hill behind the Winn Dixie.

When you visit the facility, you will notice the best parking places are reserved for donors. Walk in the front door, and you will be greeted by Darlene Martin. Her nameplate reads, “Director of First Impressions” and she makes you feel comfortable and answers any questions you might have about donating blood.

On your first visit, the staff will review your medical history. The entire donation usually takes about an hour, and donating takes less than 10 minutes.

According to the Red Cross, blood is needed by hundreds of patients in our area every day. Only 5 percent of eligible people donate. When more people donate, there are fewer blood shortages. To learn if you can donate, please call 1.800.GIVE.LIFE to ask about your eligibility.

Another way to help others is donating platelets. Platelets are blood cells that cause blood to clot. “Patients with cancer, leukemia, and aplastic anemia need platelets,” said Rita Lawson who supervises platelet donations. “We have special machines at this location to allow donors to give platelets,” Lawson said. Platelet donation is by appointment and takes somewhat longer, an hour and a half to two hours.

To find out more about donating blood or platelets, please call 994-7700. Regular donation hours are Monday and Tuesday noon to six, Thursday 9 to 3, and Friday and Saturday 8 to 2.


Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at dale@dalebrakhage.com.