The Shepeard Community Blood Center, responsible for stocking area hospitals with blood donations, held emergency drives last week to stock depleted supplies.
The center held mobile blood drives in the area, including one in front of Doctors Hospital in Augusta on New Year's Eve and another at Harlem City Hall on Friday.
Blood supplies were critically low in area hospitals because of certain government restrictions and the holiday season, officials said.
"We had quite a response," Kelly Sanders, Shepeard's community relations coordinator, said about the New Year's Eve drive. "We actually collected 180 units of blood."
Harlem's event met organizers' goal of 15 units.
Sanders said she is thankful for the donations from members of the community. Donors at Harlem said they were glad to help.
"I don't mind giving blood. I try to do it on a regular basis whenever I can get to a blood mobile," said Cindy Greenwell, a Harlem business owner.
Critical blood shortage is typical around the holiday season as a result of people's busy schedules, Sanders said. Also, the Food and Drug Administration ruled four years ago that anyone who has lived in Europe cannot donate blood as a precaution against Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative nerve illness similar to mad cow disease. The regulation pertains to many Columbia County residents who are stationed at Fort Gordon and have served on Army bases in Europe in recent years.
The emergency drives replenished the hospitals' blood inventories. However, Shepeard still needs blood to fill reserves.
The FDA also has ruled that soldiers who have served in Iraq will have to wait at least a year before donating. This will make the blood center's predicament more urgent.
"We don't have the back-up supply (of blood) we need," Sanders said. "We like to keep it in the case of an emergency like, God forbid, a terrorist attack."
The holiday blood drives are over, but Shepeard Community Blood Center is planning more mobile drives at:
- West Acres Baptist Church on Gibbs Road, Evans, 5-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday
- Food Lion shopping center at the intersection of Horizon South Parkway and Wrightsboro Road, Grovetown, 3-7 p.m. on Thursday
Shepeard also holds regular hours for blood donations at:
- 112 Davis Road, Martinez, Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- 1533 Wrightsboro Road, Grovetown, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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