PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould hosted a blood drive on Tuesday to help meet the need.
AMMC Director of Foundation and Marketing at Arkansas Methodist Shay Willis said they know from experience how vital blood donations are.
"Here at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, every month we transfuse about 100 units of blood," Willis said. "So without people who volunteer their time to donate that gift, we wouldn't be able to provide it to our patients. So, that's why it's so vitally important for people to give the gift of life."
Willis said people are often unaware that blood doesn't stay good, which is why it must constantly be replenished.
"Blood units do have an expiration date," Willis said. "That is why it is so vitally important that the Red Cross keeps a busy schedule. And that they go all over the areas they serve to collect these life-saving products because they don't last forever. So, that's why it's important for donors who are eligible to give regularly. If you give a whole blood unit, try to do that every 56 days. Or if you're a double red cell donor, you might have to wait a little longer, but you're giving twice as much. So, give every 112 days because without those life-saving products the shelves in hospitals can't be stocked. And if AMMC alone is transferring 100 units, you can just imagine what our region does. How much of impact it can go through."
Paragould resident Virginia Wendell has donated for years.
"I think it's important to give blood," Wendell said. "You never know who it's going to. It could be your family member, your friends and saving a life is always the most important thing in this world."
Jill Hurt drove all the way from Corning to give at AMMC's blood drive.
"In 2006 I broke my shoulders," Hurt said. "And I had to be transported to UAMS hospital, and I had to have surgery on my shoulders. After my surgery, I messed up some plates on my shoulders, and I had to have two pints of blood. I'm just trying to give back because if nobody had donated blood, then I wouldn't have had blood for me. So, I'm just trying to give back."
Willis said often the summer months and holidays can be especially tough on the American Red Cross.
"Around the summer months, it's extremely hard for the American Red Cross to keep up an ample supply," Willis said. "So, we here at AMMC try to hold a blood drive every 56 days which is when whole blood donors are eligible. Then we try to add a couple of blood drives in around the holidays. So, obviously we are just coming off of Memorial Day so we are having this drive today. But then our regular blood drive schedule resumes in June."
Willis said AMMC will host another blood drive on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
There are also a number of additional drives coming up at other locations.
May 30 a blood drive will be held at the Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
May 31 Synergy Elite in Paragould will host a blood drive also from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
June 1 there will be a blood drive at Gazaway Lumber from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Paragould.
Also on June 1, the American Red Cross Chapter will host a drive from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 2416 South Madison Street in Jonesboro.
For more information about AMMC, click here.
For more information about the American Red Cross, click here.