Albany ministers, public set to give blood

ALBANY, Ga. -- On Saturday at the Jake Edwards Fellowship Hall at 512 Corn Ave., members of the Albany Baptist Ministers Conference will roll up their sleeves to give blood.

In the meantime, they are encouraging the public to do the same.

The blood drive will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., during which American Red Cross attendants will be taking blood from each pastor's arm.

In addition, the ministers have encouraged members of their congregations to give as well. Representation is expected from the majority of the Baptist churches in the Albany area, said the Rev. H.C. Wilson, president of the Albany Baptist Ministers Conference.

In all, close to 130 people had committed to participating in the drive as of midday Wednesday, Wilson said.

"We are doing this because of the need," Wilson said.

The blood drive will end a series of events for the ministers conference. There is a communion planned for 7 tonight at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on South Westover Boulevard followed by a Good Friday service at noon Friday, also at Mt. Zion.

"The climax of it will be the blood drive," Wilson said. "We want to do something for the community and share what God has blessed us with.

"This is for anybody that wants to come and give blood. In fact, we are encouraging them (to come and give blood)."

This is something the ministers conference does on an annual basis. This will be the third year the group is doing this, Wilson said.

Every two seconds, there is someone in the United States who needs blood, according to the American Red Cross. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. The average red blood cell transfusion is three pints, and a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Roughly one pint of blood is given during the donation process. Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection, while donated platelets must be used within five days of collection.

The American Red Cross notes on its website that blood donations also go to sickle cell patients requiring frequent blood transfusions, and to cancer patients during their chemotherapy treatments. Less than 38 percent of the country's population is eligible to give blood, the organization states.

Red Cross officials say one donation can save up to three people.

"We hope the response will be great because of the fact there is a need for blood," Wilson. "We feel this is our obligation."

Aside from the American Red Cross Blood Donor Center on Dawson Road, there is also an opportunity for people to give blood at Albany Technical College, Building C, via a blood drive being held there from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Monday.

For more information on where and how to give, visit www.redcrossblood.org.