Woman giving blood American Red Cross

Blood donations always needed

Donating blood is something Susan Landreth-Everitt has always wanted to do, but the year she spent in England right after graduating from college prevented her from doing it until recently.

In October 2022, the American Red Cross began accepting blood donors who had previously been excluded after the Food and Drug Administration  eliminated “donor eligibility restrictions on European travel as it related to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), believed to be derived from mad cow disease,” according to a news release from the Red Cross.

And Landreth-Everitt, who is the executive director of the American Red Cross of East Central GA, was more than happy to roll up her sleeve and give blood.

“I was so excited,” said Landreth-Everitt, who admits to also being a little nervous. “I do not like needles, but it was really easy to do.

January is national blood donor month. While blood donations are always needed, Landreth-Everitt said winter months typically see less donations.

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According to the Red Cross, someone needs blood every two seconds, but only 3% of the population donates. Someone in a car accident could need as many as 100 units of blood; and cancer patients often need blood after chemotherapy.

Judy Simpson, a retired North Augusta schoolteacher, started giving blood at Shepeard Community Blood Center in December 2013.

“When I was in high school, my mother was diagnosed with leukemia. I learned during her illness of the importance of donating blood to have on hand when needed,” said Simpson, who has donated 13 gallons of blood in the past decade.

Five years after she started giving blood, she switched to donating platelets. When she gave whole blood, she could only donate every two months, but with the platelet donation, she can give every two weeks.

Shepeard has blood centers in Augusta, Evans and Aiken, S.C. as well as a bloodmobile and serves 29 hospitals across 40 counties in Georgia and South Carolina.

November 28, 2017. Orem, Utah. Nathaniel Morris gives blood at his college. “I think donating is important,” he says. “I’m O- so I donate as often as I can.” Photo by Amanda Romney/American Red Cross

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The Red Cross has an app that allows donors to track where their donation is used. Blood donations at local events are often used in the Augusta area, Landreth-Everitt said.        

Most Red Cross blood drives are held in larger venues because some people are still cautious about being in an enclosed space such as a bloodmobile.  A drive will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 30 at Springlakes Community Center at 104 Springlakes Drive, Martinez, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 8 at the North Augusta Community Center.

The Shepeard Blood Center, 1533 Wrightsboro Rd., is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday;  the Shepeard Center, 353 Fabian Dr., Aiken is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and the Evans location, 4329 Washington Rd., is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Landreth-Everitt said anyone who donates to the Red Cross In January will qualify to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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