“In summer, we have a shortage,” said Elena Mazur, a team supervisor who works at the Cobb Donor Center in Marietta. “People go on vacations, but because of vacations and recreational activities, the need for blood increases.”
The Red Cross hopes since today is World Blood Donor Day, more people will be motivated to give blood. In its 10th year, Donor Day was established to raise awareness of the need for safe blood products, as well as to thank volunteers for their donations, according to Kristen Stancil with the Red Cross’ Southern Blood Services Region in Douglasville.
“Donors of all blood types are currently needed, especially those with types O-negative, A-negative and B-negative,” Stancil said.
The Red Cross’ website says donating blood takes about an hour and a half to go through the entire process, which includes answering health history questions, a mini-physical, getting blood drawn and a rest period to allow a donor’s body to adjust.
Blood donations have a shelf life of up to 42 days, the website says, and a healthy donor may donate every 56 days. One unit of blood can save up to three lives, the site says.
Mazur said the Cobb Donor Center is also in critical need of blood platelet donations, which she called “really precious” as they help cancer and HIV patients, as well as those undergoing organ transplants.
Stancil described platelets as small and colorless cell fragments found in blood. Their main function is to stop or prevent bleeding. She added volunteers with type A-positive, type B-positive and type-AB blood are encouraged to consider a platelet donation.
Platelets also have a much shorter shelf life — five days — and Mazur said they cannot be collected from regular whole blood donations. It also can take up to two hours to donate platelets, but Mazur said giving platelets or blood is important.
“An hour or two of (people’s) time can make a difference,” she said. “(Donating) currently is the only way to help people in need of blood.”
The Cobb Donor Center is at 2145 Roswell Road, Suite 250, in the East Lake Shopping Center. It opened in 2001 and is open seven days a week. Appointments can be made by calling (770) 578-1977.
Mazur said appointments are preferred, but walk-ins will be accepted.
Interested donors can also find nearby blood drives and learn more about giving blood by visiting www.redcross/org/100days.
How to Help:
Who: All blood types needed, especially O-negative, A-negative and B-negative
When: World Blood Donor Day is today, but blood donations are needed every day
Where: The Cobb Donor Center is at 2145 Roswell Road, Suite 250 in the East Lake Shopping Center. It is open seven days a week.
Why: One blood donation can save up to three lives
Info: 1-800-RED CROSS, www.redcrossblood.org