Local blood drives:
- 4-7 p.m., today at the Clay County YMCA
- 3:30-6:30 p.m., Feb. 28, Center Point United Methodist Church
Although most people fear needles, Indiana Blood Center Corporate Communcations Director Elise Brown said donating blood is worth the sting of a needle.
"You can help save three lives with one hour of your time," Brown said.
One pint of blood can help up to three patients.
She hears many first time donors say, 'that wasn't so bad.'
"Try it one time, give it one chance," she said.
The Indiana Blood Center is running two blood drives this month in Clay County. The first is today from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Clay County YMCA, 225 E. Kruzan St.
YMCA Director Chad Zaucha said the YMCA and the IBC have agreed to run a blood drive every 56 days at the YMCA
"We're assisting in saving lives," Zaucha said.
"Hopefully we keep on building more and more people (to donate blood)," he said.
Zaucha said donations will be taken in the community room where free cholesterol screenings will also be administered.
For anyone who is not a member to the YMCA, $20 will be taken off the membership fee for those who donate blood, he said.
The second drive is later this month on Monday, Feb. 28 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Center Point United Methodist Church, 202 S. Cherry St. in Center Point.
Tuesday, Brown said the IBC has a below average supply of type O-negative blood. She said this is a problem because O-negative is the only universal type of blood.
When new blood supplies are donated, she said the center never knows what to expect, but with a high supply of O-negative they would be better off.
"It's always important to have a good supply for O-negative," Brown said.
Regardless of volunteers blood type, she said she still encourages everyone to contribute.
St. Vincent Clay Hospital in Brazil receives their blood supply from the Central Indiana Regional Blood Center, said hopsital R.N. and Clincal Educator Andrea Baysinger.
Baysinger said blood donation is essential to the hospital.
"We see the positives every day," she said.
She thinks more people donate blood when it affects them first hand such as a family members needing it. Whether a family member needs it or not, it is important for people to donate blood anyway, she said.
"Volunteers are what we rely on," Baysinger said. There is no substitute for human blood and while 60 percent of the population is eligible to help, the actual turn out is much smaller, she said. Still, she said, eight million Americans volunteer each year.
Brown said that despite larger blood drive turn outs after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, donations are down. Only 5 percent of the population donates blood, she said.
The IBC aims at receiving 500 units of blood each day to be delivered to 46 Indiana hopsitals. Brown said most days they come close to meeting their goal, but not always.
"We would like to see some of those people come back," she said, adding that she is optimistic that an increase is possible.
While the process can take about an hour, Brown said it usually doesn't. Volunteers actually give blood for about five minutes, the rest of the time is spent filling out paper work and making sure a person is healthy enough to donate.
Donors must be at least 17 years old, be in good general health, weight at least 110 pounds and present a photo I.D.
"It's safe and easy and we'd like to encourage people to come out at least one time," Brown said.
More information can be found by calling (812) 238-2495 or 1-800-632-4722.