LifeSouth asks for support as blood needs remain at emergency levels

Published 4:08 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

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LifeSouth is planning to host its big fall blood drive at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Nov. 17. The organization is in need of donations to help continue supplying WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

Melinda Hinds of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers said the organization is always in need of blood, but they need it now as much as ever.

“We’ve been in emergency need of blood for what seems like years, but it’s been pretty bad lately,” Hinds said.

She said LifeSouth holds large blood drives in the spring and fall and in some of the schools, but it still has difficulty getting other support.

Even with their bloodmobiles set up at the Walmart on New Franklin Rd. nearly every Sunday, it’s hard to keep up, Hinds said.

“We supply all of the blood for the hospital here. The Red Cross supplies zero,” Hinds said. “A lot of people don’t know that because they’re still in the area. They’re still doing blood drives, but none of that blood is staying here.”

She said it’s often hard to get other groups to host blood drives for them because they already work with the Red Cross.

“We’re having a tough time getting folks to do blood drives with us so that we have the products to supply the hospital. We’re going out and trying to do blood drives and people are doing Red Cross blood drives.”

LifeSouth and the Red Cross are both nonprofits, so it’s not like they are business competitors, but even charities have to compete when monetary donations are limited. Blood donations can be an even more precious and limited resource.

Hinds just asks that if you’re going to host a blood drive with Red Cross consider hosting one with Lifesouth as well.

“If you’re going to do one with them, do one with us too,” she said, adding she isn’t asking for organizations to ignore Red Cross to help them.

She said she has tried to set up drives with the police and fire departments, but they already work with Red Cross.

The Red Cross does provide blood that helps LaGrange residents, said Holly Winner,

Executive Director of the Central Midwest Georgia Chapter of the Red Cross, which is located in LaGrange.

She said Red Cross provides blood for the Piedmont system with locations in Newnan, Fayetteville and Atlanta, so if LaGrange patients are taken to those locations, they could receive Red Cross blood.

Winner said the Red Cross also ships blood to locations throughout the country to ensure they have blood when needed.

Neither the Red Cross nor Lifesouth wants anyone to stop donating blood to the other. Lifesouth just wants organizations to also consider them when hosting blood drives.

“There’s so much potential here. There are so many giving people here. People are so generous. I just wish that they knew more about us,” Hinds explained.

Giving blood usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes from the time you walk into the time you walk out, Hinds said.

“We usually have something for the donors. We always have t-shirts, but sometimes there are gift cards and stuff like that,” she said.

Lifesouth will host its fall blood drive Thursday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Lafayette Parkway in LaGrange.

Donors are asked to bring a photo ID and be sure and eat and drink plenty of fluids before giving blood. Donors must be 17 years old and older and weigh at least 110 lbs. Sixteen-year-olds can donate with parental consent.