By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The Shepeard Blood Center held a blood drive and free community cookout at Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH) in honor of Hospital Week, a nationally-recognized appreciation week for healthcare workers, on May 14. Shepeard grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for all donors and guests. Shepeard Blood Center, a non-profit organization established in 1978, partnered with MMH last year as the hospital’s blood supplier, and plans to hold blood drives about every eight weeks at MMH. They also hold blood drives twice a year at the Morgan County High School and three times a year at Anthony International in Morgan County. Linda Walker, the community and special projects coordinator for Shepeard Blood Center, stressed that MMH recruited their organization to become their blood providers because of the local quality blood they procure at significantly lower costs.
“We have never even had so much as one bag of blood recalled,” said Walker about the high quality of their blood supply. Walker explained that once blood is collected, it is transported to the main center in Augusta to be processed, and separated into four components: plasma, platelets, red blood cells, and cryo cells, which are used to thicken and clot blood in patients. Blood is only distributed to the 20 local Georgia hospitals Shepeard provides for, MMH being one of them. “We are saving the hospital a lot of money,” said Walker. “All of our blood is collected locally and stays local. Organizations like the Red Cross are wonderful to give to, but our blood is your blood.” “We really need the local community’s help by donating blood to keep costs low and to meet the needs of our hospitals,” said Walker. Walker noted that blood type O Negative is the most needed because it can be universally donated to anyone with any blood type. “O Negative is most needed, but we need all blood types,” said Walker.
Shepeard Blood Center collects a pint, which is one unit, of blood from every donor. Multiple donors are required to create one unit of the various components. It takes eight to 10 blood donors to create one unit of platelets for blood recipients. It takes 15 to 20 donors to make one unit of cryo cells. “You can give anywhere, but when you give to us, you know exactly where the blood is going and that it will be used to help those within your own community,” said Walker.
You can schedule a blood drive with Shepeard Blood Center if you have at least 30 donors sign up before hand. “In order to make it cost effective, we need a guarantee of at least 30 donors before we can send our donation bus out,” explained Walker. To find out more information about blood donation, contact Linda Walker at 706-737-4551.