Tina Williams, a medical technologist at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s blood bank, processes a blood sample for a patient in this 2013 file photo. Officials with the American Red Cross are encouraging potential donors to come in to help ramp up the blood supply during the Independence Day holiday during a time of year blood donations are low. (Albany Herald file photo)
ALBANY — To help prevent the shortages that can often occur during the summer, officials with the American Red Cross are encouraging potential blood donors to make an appointment to give during the Independence Day holiday weekend.
The American Red Cross is asking blood and platelet donors to help prevent a summer shortage by making an appointment to roll up a sleeve around the Fourth of July holiday. With blood and platelet donation appointments currently lower than what is needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply, due to a seasonal decrease in blood drives and people busy with holiday festivities, donors of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment — especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative, officials from the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region said.
Officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital said the facility is not currently experiencing any specific blood type shortages, but are still encouraging donations.
The Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients across the country. This can be challenging during the months of June, July and August, when fewer donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need.
Officials say this seasonal challenge can be overcome if two more donors, above what is expected, make an appointment and give blood at each drive the rest of the summer.
“Vacations and other summer activities often conflict with donation appointments for regular blood donors, which makes summer a very difficult time to collect blood donations,” said Jerry J.K. Tillery, CEO of the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico and Southern Blood Services regions, in a news release. “Donations decline further near summer holidays like Independence Day. A blood or platelet donation now can help sustain an adequate blood supply this summer.”
During the coming week, donors can make contributions at the Albany Blood Donation Center at 1515 Dawson Road from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on July 10. After that, there are chances to donate outside the center at the Albany Mall from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. on July 11, Building C of Albany Technical College from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on July 14, Carmike Wynnsong 16 from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on July 19 and New Birth Fellowship Church at 2106 Radium Springs Road from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on July 19.
To encourage more people to make time to donate blood before and after Independence Day, all those presenting to donate blood and platelets through Monday are being offered a commemorative Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last, officials with the organization said.
Visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find nearby blood donation opportunities or schedule an appointment. All blood types are encouraged to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card, a driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Most individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health are eligible to donate blood.