ALBANY — To help maintain the gift of life, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is hosting a blood drive on Thursday.
The blood drive will take place in a new location on the second floor of the hospital’s Tower 1 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the rotunda above the Phoebe Cancer Center, which people can access by taking the tower entrance and going into the Tower 1 or Tower 2 elevators.
As severe winter weather began to subside late last month, the American Red Cross asked all eligible blood and platelet donors to help offset a weather-related shortfall in donations after winter storms and freezing temperatures resulted in more than 600 Red Cross blood drive cancellations and nearly 20,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. In Georgia alone, severe winter weather forced the cancellation of 51 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in about 2,175 fewer than expected blood and platelet donations over a period of several days, officials said.
“It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives when severe weather hits,” said Jerry J.K. Tillery, CEO of the Red Cross Southern, Alabama & Central Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico blood services regions, in a news release. “Thanks to generous Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood products were available for patients who still needed transfusions despite the weather. Now we invite those previously ‘frozen out’ from giving blood or platelets to come in soon.”
Aside from platelet donations, the blood types most in-demand from the shortfall were declared to be O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative for the weeks following.
Statistics from the American Red Cross show that, every two seconds, someone in the nation needs blood, and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood, with roughly one pint given during a donation.
This drive is open to the public, and officials at the hospital say there will be signage directing people where to go. Appointments can be made on www.redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, and walk-ins will be accepted. Aside from the drive at Phoebe, opportunities to donate are also available at the Albany Blood Donation Center at 1515 Dawson Road on Thursday from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, and platelets can be donated every seven days up to 24 times a year. Most healthy individuals who are at least 17 years old and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds are eligible to donate.