COLUMBIA — While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains.
The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.
In Newberry County, Macedonia Lutheran Church, 203 Macedonia Road in Prosperity, will hold a blood drive from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 8.
At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand.
The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.
“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”
In the United States, every two seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds.
“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Poulin.
Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.
Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross will thank those who come in to donate blood or platelets through Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.
To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.
The American Red Cross Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St. in Columbia, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities through Aug. 15:
• Aug. 14: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., SC National Guard Springdale Armory, 3528 Platt Springs Road
• Aug. 4: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., WIS-TV Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, 300 Palmetto Health Parkway Drive
• Aug. 3: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lexington Medical Center Lexington, 811 West Main St.
• Aug. 4: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., WIS TV/Lexington Urgent Care, 811 West Main St.
• Aug. 8: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Red Bank United Methodist, 2909 Old Barnwell Road
• Aug. 9: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Springdale Baptist Church, 357 Wattling Road
• Aug. 11: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Dynamic Health & Fitness, 3225 Sunset Blvd.
Richland County — Columbia
• Aug. 3: 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Palmetto Health Richland Medical Center, 3301 Harden St.
• Aug. 4: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Spring Valley Presbyterian Church, 125 Sparkleberry Lane
• Aug. 4: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Columbia Fireflies, 1640 Freed St.
• Aug. 10: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Palmetto Health Baptist Medical Center, 1501 Sumter St.
• Aug. 10: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Providence Hospital, 2435 Forest Drive
• Aug. 10: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Palmetto Health Greystone, 293 Greystone Blvd.
• Aug. 10: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., USC- School of Medicine (VA Campus), 6311 Garners Ferry Road
• Aug. 11: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Unitrends, 7 Technology Circle
• Aug. 11: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Palmetto Health Home Care, 1400 Pickens St.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.
The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.