SALYERSVILLE – A blood drive is slated for later this month, with the Kentucky Blood Center noting that all donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
On Friday, January 22, they will be set up in the fellowship hall of the Salyersville First Baptist Church, located on Dixie Avenue across from Ramey Memorial Park, from 1 to 5 p.m. Donors must schedule donation appointments in advance by either going to kybloodcenter.org or calling 800-775-2522.
In celebration of National Blood Donor Month, the Kentucky Blood Center is offering limited-edition hoodie sweatshirts through January 24 (while supplies last) to show its donors appreciation.
Kentucky Blood Center is also offering free COVID-19 antibody testing to all donors through the end of February. Donors who test positive for the antibodies may be recruited to donate convalescent plasma to help critically ill patients fight the coronavirus.
Mandy Brajuha, director of marketing for KBC, told the Independent earlier in the pandemic they had to cancel 128 blood drives in the wake of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing. From those 128 drives they were expecting to get 3,800 units of blood to serve the over 70 Kentucky hospitals.
“COVID-19 may not cause the need for blood, but car accidents, cancer and transplants still happen,” Brajuha said.
Amy LeVan, donor recruitment specialist support for KBC, said the additional spacing will allow them to accommodate more donors while keeping everyone safe.
“This is a difficult time, but we still have an obligation to help the hospitals,” LeVan said. There are still accidents, transplants, and babies born prematurely, which is why it’s so important. This is why people that are healthy need to donate.”
Brajuha told the Independent their mobile unit usually gets between 10 and 15 units per blood drive, but she hopes more people will step up and donate during this difficult time.
“I know a lot more people can roll up their sleeves down there,” Brajuha said. “This is a tangible thing you can do to help at a time when you don’t think there’s anything you can do. This is an irreplaceable gift you’re giving to these families.”
Blood donation continues to be important and safe for donors and KBC encourages all healthy individuals to donate when they can and as often as they are eligible. They will be maintaining proper social distancing, frequently sanitizing surfaces and offering prepackaged snacks at their drives. Hand sanitizer will be available at every blood donation site and the donor beds will be disinfected between every donation.
Face coverings will be required at the event and appointments are preferred.
They do encourage blood donors to complete their health history questionnaire online before coming to the donor center by using QuickPass at kybloodcenter.org (on the day of donation) to reduce the donor’s time in the center and allow them to use their own personal device for the task. Blood donation appointments are very important to help them manage the number of people at the donation sites.
Blood donors must be 17 years old (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, show a photo I.D. and meet additional requirements. Sixteen-year-old donors must have a signed parental permission slip, which can be found at kybloodcenter.org.
To schedule a donation, visit kybloodcenter.org or call 800.775.2522.
Brajuha said they are looking at increasing their local presence in the communities. All future blood drives will be reported in the Independent and on our website, www.salyersvilleindependent.com.
KBC has two donor centers in Lexington, two in Louisville and locations in Pikeville and Somerset.