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Blood drive scheduled in East Brewton

Volunteer blood donors in Escambia County will get a chance to give blood and save lives at the East Brewton Community blood drive, scheduled for Thursday, July 29, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at East Brewton Community Center, located at 103 Forrest Ave.

The summer is tough on the blood supply in the region for several reasons, Red Cross officials said. School is out during the summer months. Students in high school and college comprise 21 percent of blood donors in the region, and when they aren’t available for donations at their respective schools, the blood inventory suffers, officials said. Also, because the summertime is a period filled with outdoor recreation, increased outside labor and more frequent vacation travel, an increase in the number of accidents has historically served to further deplete the blood supply.

The situation is further compounded by the increase in the frequency of dangerous tropical activity during the summer months in the form of hurricanes and tropical storms, both of which not only cause an increase in the demand for blood but also disrupt collection efforts. These factors together create one of the toughest times of the year for the blood inventory, and the American Red Cross counts on selfless donors to roll up their sleeves and fill in the gaps in the blood supply through summer blood drives.

“This drive is designed to head off the summer blood shortages in advance of the increased summer demand,” said Evan Duffy, communications manager for the American Red Cross. “The summer is a tough time for the blood supply and those whose very lives depend on it. Tragedy can strike anyone at any time, whether in the form of a hurricane, a wreck, an emergency surgery or an on-the-job accident. In order to make sure the summer blood supply is as stable as possible, donors must give blood. It’s really that simple. Those who take an hour to give a unit of blood are heroes in the most real sense of the word.”

Because blood can be separated into three components – blood, platelets and plasma – one donation can benefit up to three individuals. Because it takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals, it is important that a donation be made ahead of an emergency. If everyone who was eligible would donate four times a year, there would never be a blood shortage.

During the months of July, August and September, every presenting volunteer donor at an American Red Cross blood drive or donor center will be entered into a regional drawing for a $1000 gift card (to be awarded at the end of September) as part of the “Give Blood and See America” promotion. All presenting donors will receive a coupon for a free round of golf at any Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail course (Lakewood and Ross Bridge excluded).