The organization is highlighting the need for blood donations during the summer travel season as they focus on making sure plenty of the lifesaving fluid is available for hospitals in Northeast Mississippi.
The summer months are a tough time for recruiting blood donors due to many regular donors taking trips and having other obligations that get them out of their normal routine, explained UBS Donor Recruitment Representative Toni Gough. At the same time, more travel during summer months means an overall spike in the number of traffic accidents boosting the demand for blood products.
“It's a really difficult time and there's always more need,” she said.
UBS is the primary provider of blood and blood products for hospitals in Northeast Mississippi including Magnolia Regional Health Center, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Booneville and North Mississippi Medical Center. The blood collected by UBS stays in the region and helps provide lifesaving care for people in the area, said Gough.
This is an important distinction because there are organizations who conduct blood drives in the area but primarily serve other regions in the state and rarely supply any blood or blood products to the local region, she said.
“It's super important for people to know where their blood is going when they donate,” she said.
One pint of whole blood can help up to three people, explained the representative. In addition to donating whole blood, UBS offers the option to donate plasma or platelets as well as a double red cell donation that draws more red cells from the donor to help even more patients.
Gough said most people can donate if they are in reasonable health. Donors must be 16 years old or older and in good health. There are some restrictions and every donor is asked a series of questions to ensure they meet the requirements. Details can also be found on the group's website at www.unitedbloodservices.org.
Gough said the best thing to do if a person has a question about their ability to donate is to give them a call at their office in Tupelo at 662-842-8871.
There are a number of drives coming up in the region and Gough said they're always on the lookout for new donors to help them help save lives in the area. Donations can also be made at the UBS office on Eason Boulevard in Tupelo Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Upcoming drives include Baptist Memorial Hospital-Booneville on Aug. 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.