In a visit to the Thomson Kiwanis Club on Monday, Shepeard Community Blood Center spokeswoman Emily Sturkie said the demand for blood is up in the summer months, while many potential donors are on vacation.
Sturkey, a recruitment specialist from the Augusta office, said Shepeard must receive 200 donors a day in order to meet its obligations. Shepeard supplies 17 hospitals, plus the Joseph M. Still Burner Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. Shepeard recently took responsibility to meet half the blood needs of MCG in Augusta.
She said McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson is one of the client hospitals.
Potential blood donors also get a "mini health checkup," Sturkie said.
Donors have their blood pressure and pulse checked, and the blood is tested for iron levels. She said high iron levels have been linked to cancer risk, and the indicators have helped call attention to cancer risk. She said giving blood also helps reduce blood pressure.
Blood drives are scheduled at Thomson High School, through local industries, and at the Thomson hospital, she said. The Augusta office at 1533 Wrightsboro Road is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Evans office, at 4329 Washington Road, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Donors can find more information online at www.shepeardblood.org.
A person is allowed to donate blood every eight weeks, she said.
At each Shepeard blood bus stop, potential donors are screened and informed of any factors that would prevent their donating. Donors receive juice and snacks and a T-shirt after they donate. Those who are unable to donate also get a T-shirt.
Kiwanis Club President Jay Poston said his company, Thomson Roofing, is host to blood drives four times each year, but "not in the heat of summer."
"It's not just our employees," he said, adding that others are welcome to sign up for e-mails to notify them of blood drives.
He said donating takes about 30 minutes.
Poston said people who are unsure whether they're eligible to donate should at least visit the blood bus and inquire. "You still get a free T-shirt," he said.
For information on Shepeard's schedule, visit the Web site or call Sturkie at (706) 737-4551.