ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Albany Blood Donation Center will close June 19th. South Georgians who donate regularly have concerns the closure will have a negative impact on hospitals.
They are closing the Albany center because of tough economic conditions in the blood industry. Donors say they hope the Red Cross will re-think that decision.
Carleen Wise of Plains is a strong believer in the American Red Cross and donating blood for emergencies and health care. "I've donated over eight gallons of blood and also multiple donations of platelets through the years," she said.
Her nephew's cancer showed the need. "And we were doing blood donations and platelet donations at that time. And ever since I've been wanting to do my part to help out the community," said Wise.
But Wise received a letter this week, informing her the Blood Center will close June 19th. American Red Cross officials could not go on camera, but said in a statement economics is forcing them to efficiently manage their resources, which means closing the Albany center. If you want to donate platelets, you will have to drive to Valdosta, Columbus, or Savannah.
Wise said she doesn't think donors will drive three or more hours to give.
But Porterfield United Methodist Church is stepping up their blood drive efforts, and will provide a blood drive the first Tuesday and the fourth Thursday of every month.
"We work with Global Groups to help when there is emergencies. And it's nice to now that we are helping right here at home," said William Collins of Porterfield Church.
The American Red Cross said they will continue to provide hospital with the same quality blood service, but Wise has concerns.
Wise said "In the letter it said this would not impact the community at all. And I feel that it's a very good chance that there is going to be a major impact."
Wise says she will continue to donate blood, and calls on American Red Cross officials to reconsider closing the Albany Center, and wants other members of the community to also voice their concerns.