Officials say summer is a difficult time to keep Shepeard Community Blood Center's supply of blood at an optimum level in case of emergencies.
Columbia County Water and Sewerage employee Joe Hayes laughs as he is kidded by his co-workers while donating blood during a Columbia County blood drive in January. Another drive is planned for Thursday at the Evans Government Center auditorium. The goal is to collect 125 pints in July.
"We get so busy,'' said Pamela Rascon, the center's director of community resources. "Children are out of school. Our routines are different. Sometimes it's not easy to have blood donation as a type of mind priority.
"But there are still people in the hospital and in the burn center, patients that need blood."
Columbia County's Emergency Management Agency hopes to change that with a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Evans Government Center auditorium on Ronald Reagan Drive.
"One unit of blood can save three lives," Rascon said.
She said each unit is separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma and can be used by three people for burn and cancer treatment, trauma situations or surgeries.
Pam Tucker, Columbia County's emergency services director, said the blood drive has been held twice annually, during summer and winter, since she started her job in 1999. Since that partnership with Shepeard began, residents and county employees have donated 952 pints of blood, which translates to 2,856 lives potentially saved.
"Everybody is just so wonderful," Tucker said, adding that this past summer the drive brought in 171 pints of donated blood.
Tucker said the goal for the drive is to bring in 125 pints of blood.
Everyone who donates will receive a free cholesterol screening, a T-shirt, a certificate for a free pint of Bruster's ice cream and lunch courtesy of Mot's Pit Cooked Barbeque.
The blood center serves 15 area hospitals. Rascon expects the amount of blood needed will increase because the burn center at Doctors Hospital is expected to soon go from 27 to 56 beds.
A blood mobile will hold another drive July 7 at the county's Roads and Bridges Department in Appling, Tucker said.
"We're excited about that," Rascon said.
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