Amid blood crisis, Augusta VA hospital to host 2 drives for donors

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 11:26 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center will partner with Shepeard Community Blood Center to host blood drives.

On Tuesday, Shepeard will host a blood drive at the Charlie Norwood Uptown Division, 1 Freedom Way, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the hospital.

On Sept. 23, Shepeard will host a second blood drive at the Charlie Norwood Downtown Division, 950 15th St., from 10 am until 3 p.m. inside a Shepeard bloodmobile.

The effort comes during a time of years when already-depleted blood banks like Shepeard face even more hardships getting donations.

However, previously deferred donors, including many veterans and active-duty service members, are now able to donate blood, platelets and plasma after years of being restricted due to concerns of spreading Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, often called mad cow disease.

More than 20 years ago, the Food and Drug Administration imposed a ban on blood donations from anyone who spent more than six months in the United Kingdom and several European countries from 1980 to 1997. The disease can be contracted by eating the meat of infected animals, and symptoms can take years to show up.

The ban on these donors – many of them service members who are now veterans – was recently lifted.

As a general reminder, donors must be in good health to donate, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 17 years old (or 16 with written parental consent). Be sure to bring a photo ID or Shepeard donor card with you when you come to donate.

Call Shepeard at 706-737-4551 if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment.

Go to the following link and type in your ZIP code to find other donation opportunities: https://donor.shepeardblood.org/donor/schedules/zip.

Another option for donors

The Red Cross needs donors, too.

“The Red Cross is filled with everyday heroes who make a difference in the lives of hospital patients and inspire over 2 million people annually to roll up their sleeves and give the gift of life,” said Susan Everitt, executive director for the Augusta-based American Red Cross of East Central Georgia. “It only takes about one hour of your day, and your donation can help save up to three lives.”

The local Red Cross operates primarily through blood drives at various locations. To find a local blood drive where you can donate, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter a ZIP code. You can also use the donor app or call 800-RED CROSS.

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