Hurricanes hurt blood supply -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hurricanes hurt blood supply

September 18, 2004

Albany- Members of Greater Second Mount Olive Baptist Church are on a mission to help save lives spiritually and literally.

"The ultimate goal is to educate the community for everyone to understand the importance and the need for giving blood," explains blood drive coordinator, Andrea Tatum.

The church held its second blood drive Saturday. With 115 units their first was the largest minority drive in Southwest Georgia, an accomplishment the church is extremely proud of.

"But we also want to put it out there as a challenge. With that challenge that's just going to bring more blood into the Red Cross," says Tatum.

And more blood is exactly what the American Red Cross needs.

"We've really gotten about 1,000 less units of blood during the last week due to the storms and the closure of the centers," says Patsy McMath of the American Red Cross.

Hurricanes that battered the Southeast forced the closure of donor centers and caused cancellations of blood drives, putting a dent in already low supplies and making the Red Cross more dependent on drives like Second Mount Olive's.

"We need anybody who's eligible," says McMath.

"I have a broken arm, but there's nothing wrong with my blood," says donor Ada Johnson.

Johnson's brother was shot years ago, and she knows first-hand the importance of blood donation.

"His brothers and sisters could not give him blood simply because we didn't have his blood type. So, he had to depend on others for blood just as somebody else has to depend on us," she says.

Second Mount Olive was able to collect 73 units of blood during their 5-hour drive Saturday.

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