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Save a life; donate blood during campus drive Jan. 17

Published on Thursday, January 11, 2018

By: Ruth Cummins

When temperatures in the metro area drop below freezing, people tend to get out to do only what they have to do: Go to work. Get groceries. Run to the drugstore for cold and flu remedies.

That, combined with the holidays, means fewer people are making the trip to donate at Mississippi Blood Services, which is experiencing a huge drop in its inventory. The University of Mississippi Medical Center is helping to ease the shortage by hosting MBS’ mobile blood coach from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 17 between the School of Nursing and Parking Garage A.

In addition to receiving a free T-shirt, all donors will be eligible for one of 15 door prizes –$10 Subway gift cards that can be used on campus or other Subway locations.

In December, 25 percent fewer donors stepped forward to give blood at MBS locations and drives, said MBS public relations specialist Susan Ates.  That equates to about 1,000 units of blood. All blood types are needed, both for donation of whole blood and for double red cells and platelets.

There’s a two-day processing time between a blood donation and when that particular unit of blood can clear all requirements to be released for transfusion. Donors must be at least 16 years old and 110 pounds and must have a valid driver’s license or identification card. MBS recommends that donors drink plenty of fluids before and after a donation, and to eat something no later than four hours afterward.

“Mississippi Blood Services and the University of Mississippi Medical Center have a longstanding relationship, and MBS is the sole provider of blood for UMMC,” Ates said. UMMC “is home to the largest trauma center and home to Mississippi’s only dedicated children’s hospital. MBS is proud to be a partner with UMMC in helping patients throughout Mississippi.”

During the last six months of 2017, UMMC transfused 11,000 units of red cells into patients, said Cindy Milton, lead technician for the Medical Center’s blood bank. “MBS provided all of that to us,” she said.

During that period, MSB also provided 2,600 units of apheresis platelets to UMMC for transfusion to patients, Milton said.

“As the state’s only Level I trauma center and the largest user of blood products in the state, we understand more than most the importance of having blood products available for the life-sustaining treatments we provide here at UMMC to our fellow Mississippians,” said Dr. Claude Brunson, professor of anesthesiology and senior advisor to the vice chancellor for external affairs. “When we have called on our UMMC family to heed a call, we have generously stepped to the plate to do just that.”

The UMMC campus has many frequent blood donors.  They include Donna Norris, clinical director of Mississippi Med-Com. “I’ve been a donor on and off since I was a senior in high school,” said Norris, a registered nurse.

“It’s a small way to help others,” Norris said. “It’s a lot more convenient for me if MBS comes to campus. I can run over during lunch, or you can run over whenever you have a break in the morning or afternoon.”

“This is a busy time of year, and there are a lot of things vying for your time and attention,” Ates said. “Maybe you’re a longtime donor who has put off donating because of your busy schedule, or maybe you’ve never donated blood before and are thinking this is not the time to start. However, this is the very time we need you.”

Said Brunson: “I ask you to join me in doing what we always do -- make a difference in the life of a Mississippian in need. Donate blood.”

For more information, go to msblood.com or call 888-90-BLOOD (902-5663). Donate at MBS’ main office at 115 Tree St. in Flowood, or find a blood drive near you by calling 601-368-2673. Hours of operation are listed on the website.