LifeSouth blood drives need donors

Published 5:17 pm Friday, June 27, 2014

Phlebotomist Kourtney Nolen helps Robbie Deavors and Misty Jackson donate blood on a mobile blood drive in Clanton.

Phlebotomist Kourtney Nolen helps Robbie Deavors and Misty Jackson donate blood on a mobile blood drive in Clanton.

A LifeSouth community blood drive made its way to Clanton on Friday, June 27, and will make several stops in Chilton County in the upcoming weeks.

Due to summer heat and vacations, people typically donate less in the summer, but this summer’s lack of donations has resulted in a large shortage of blood.

Type O-negative has suffered the largest shortage because only 7-percent of the population have this type of blood.

However, all blood types are at a high demand with depleted supply.

LifeSouth recruiter April Stinson shared just how important one person’s donation can be to someone in a crisis situation.

“I don’t think that people realize that receivers of this blood are in absolute dire need,” Stinson said. “It’s not like a prescription. Doctors don’t give blood unless they have to in order to save a life.”

Stinson said during her eight years working for LifeSouth, she always knew having a blood supply available was important, but didn’t know just how critical it was until her daughter was involved in a car accident and needed blood to recover.

“Seeing my own daughter get blood in the hospital put everything into a new perspective for me,” Stinson said. “Seeing her before and after the process, it is really what brought her back to life and gave her a chance to keep living.”

According to a press release from LifeSouth, only about 5 percent of Americans donate regularly.

Stinson said that Chilton County has some very loyal donors that come by the mobile blood drives every chance they get.

“I just want the people of the county to know just how much we appreciate them giving their time to help people,” Stinson said. “Every person that gives a pint of blood saves three lives.”

Robbie Deavers of Clanton was among the donors on Friday, and said that even though he’s diabetic, he still finds it important to donate.

“After I found out that I was diabetic, I thought that I couldn’t give blood anymore,” Deavers said. “When I finally asked, I found out that I could.”

Stinson said that oftentimes people assume that just because they have a common ailment, they aren’t eligible to give blood.

Life South encourages anyone to stop by a community blood drive and ask before assuming that they are ineligible for donating.

Stinson also said many believe that giving blood is a lengthy ordeal, when really the whole process of giving blood lasts no more than 20 minutes.

Jo Earl Adams was also among the donors who give blood regularly.

“I was watching a TV program one day about how easy it is to give blood, and how it’s used to help people,” Adams said. “Before, I never realized how easy it was. My wife and I have been giving blood religiously for about four or five years now.”

Unfortunately, LifeSouth is anticipating an even steeper decline in blood supply with the July Fourth holiday coming up.

Holidays are also times in which wrecks are more prevalent and blood supply rises in demand.

LifeSouth is concerned with the lack of O-negative blood because it is the only type of blood that can be given to anyone in an emergency, no matter what their blood type.

This type of blood is valuable in the event that someone arrives at the hospital with no indication of his or her blood type and in urgent need of blood.

The mobile LifeSouth blood drive will be at Dollar General in Maplesville from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and at Winn-Dixie in Clanton from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. on Monday, June 3.

It will also be at the Clanton Wal-Mart on Thursday, July 3, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

If someone does not know their blood type, they can be tested at the blood drive prior to donating.

Donors must be at least 17, or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health.

Donors should bring a driver’s license for identification and can donate every 56 days.

Hotdogs, snacks and drinks are available to all donors because they are encouraged to eat and drink frequently before and after the donating process, and free T-shirts are a complimentary gift for donating.

The blood donated in Chilton County will serve hospitals in Shelby County, Birmingham and Montgomery.