• 46°

Crucial need for blood after Florence

WEST POINT — The American Red Cross is getting out the word that there is a critical need for blood donations in the Southeastern states, largely due to Hurricane Florence.

According to Red Cross officials, the hurricane caused the cancellation of close to 200 blood drives that were scheduled in the Carolinas, resulting in the loss of more than 5,200 blood and platelet donations that otherwise would have been collected.

On Monday of this week, the LifeSouth bloodmobile was at the CharterBank corporate office in Technology Park. A study stream of blood donors came by that day, but more is needed to get back to normal.

The bloodmobile is back in the local area today. It will be outside Interface in West Point from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. EDT. On Sunday it will be at Kroger in Lanett from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m.

Area residents will also have the opportunity to donate blood at two local high schools in the coming weeks. The bloodmobile will be at Lanett High from 7:30 a.m. till 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 27 and at Valley High on Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m.

On Monday, LifeSouth’s donor recruiter, Robert Jenkins, told The Valley Times-News that efforts are being made to encourage more donations.

“There’s a critical need for all blood types right now,” he said. “We welcome everyone who comes by. It’s not just Florence. We had a spike in accidents this summer.”

Jenkins said that donations usually pick up between Thanksgiving and Christmas, possibly because people are in a giving mood. Other times of the year, though, people are urged to donate to keep the blood supply in good shape.

“Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Services. “There is an especially critical need for platelets to help cancer patients and type O donations for ongoing patient care and emergencies. Every donation can be a lifeline for patients.”

Appointments can be made to donate by going to the Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Financial donations are also needed. They will allow the Red Cross to provide disaster relief immediately. People affected by Hurricane Florence can be helped by texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Up-to-date information on how the Red Cross is responding to Hurricane Florence is available at RedCross.org.