For Katie Barintine, donating blood at First United Methodist Church in Lagrange has become a monthly routine.
“I have been giving blood since we had blood drives at my high school. I give blood for all of the people who need it,” Barintine said. “I am also now going to school for nursing, so I know how it is.”
The church holds a Red Cross blood drive from 12:30 to 5:45 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Due to the holiday, this month, it was held on Wednesday.
The program has been successful due to the efforts of the Red Cross Three Rivers chapter in LaGrange, volunteers and the central Red Cross blood center in Columbus.
Misty Reeves and her sister Nikki Reeves along with Christopher Lund were three of the volunteers who were at this past Wednesday’s blood drive.
“We usually get 50 to 80 people each month, with every other month seeing the same people,” Misty Reeves said. “Right now because of the recent hurricanes, blood supplies are low and we really need people to donate.”
The Red Cross has certain conditions that are strictly followed for donating blood. For a normal blood donation, one pint of blood is removed from a healthy individual only once every other month. The potential donor is screened by a Red Cross professional in the “History Booth” and only then is allowed to donate that day.
Donated blood is then usually separated into its different components and then stored. Platelets have the longest shelf life but all of the donated blood has its optimal storage time when kept refrigerated. With the recent storms cutting off both power and transportation, much of the stored blood supplies were lost in the affected areas.
Regular donors have a Red Cross donor card that contains their personal information. The card includes a bar code that the volunteer receptionist scans when the person first enters the church’s hall. The bar code then identifies the individual including blood type and donor record. The person is then given material to review and then goes on to be interviewed before actually donating blood.
Individuals usually have personal reasons why they want to donate blood.
Shelly Davis was checking in with Misty Reeves and was accompanied by her two sons.
“I want to donate blood because I have friends who volunteer here and my son Dakota started to donate at 16. Since he volunteers to give blood, I thought I should too,” Davis said.
While 16-year-olds need their parents written consent to donate, in the state of Georgia, 17-year-olds do not. Dakota Davis, now 17-years-old, no longer needs his mother’s signature to donate blood.
“Miss Vicky, one of the volunteers, said that Georgia was low on blood so I thought I should help them out,” Dakota Davis said.
Linda Hughes had already successfully gone through the interview process and was resting comfortably at one of the collection stations. Hughes is a regular, who over time, has donated nearly 11 gallons of her blood.
“My husband always gave blood, he had given almost 13 gallons and when he could no longer give, I started to,” Hughes said.
Giving blood is not a dangerous procedure, but the Red Cross professionals will make sure that you are aware of certain guide lines you should follow after you do donate.
For more information on blood donations, go online at redcrossblood.org where you will be directed to a donation calendar in your area by entering your zip code.