LifeSouth Blood Centers has been collecting blood donations in Hernando County for the last 25 years. Being the provider for the hospitals in the county, they have a desperate need for donations.
What not many people realize is donated blood has a shelf life. Whole blood donations are only viable for 42 days, and platelet donations only last for 5 days. If there ever was a question as to why there was a need, this should answer it. It explains why it is common to be short on blood, explained J.B. Bowles, the Senior Vice President for Business Development and Operations for LifeSouth.
There is always a constant need for O-negative blood, the universal donor, and also a need for blood of all types. One type that seems out of the ordinary, but essential, is type AB, but not for the whole blood. What AB blood tends to be used for is the platelets, which are the white blood cells that assist the immune system and help blood to clot.
It is used to help people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer victims undergoing chemotherapy, as well as infants and young children. It earned the nickname “baby’s blood” for that very reason, something that can help the very youngest, as well as those most vulnerable.
While LifeSouth operates 19 locations throughout North Florida, Georgia and Alabama, the blood donated in Hernando County goes to Hernando patients. It is truly an act of neighbors helping neighbors, Bowles explained.
Hernando County sees around 20,000 donations per year, from some very dedicated donors.
“We would like to thank all the donors that come,” Bowles said. “There is a constant need, and so thank you for what you do, what we call ‘giving the gift of life.’ ”
Giving blood is a fairly efficient procedure now. Donating whole blood takes up only 20 minutes while donating platelets, which is a more complex procedure, takes about an hour.
After donating blood, you are not allowed to do it again for 56 days, though if you donate platelets it is a 14-day period, and yes there are donors that come every 2 weeks to give platelets Bowels said.
There is also what they call a double red donation. This is essentially two donations at once, which defer someone for 112 days but helps by getting more blood out faster.
To donate in Hernando, their facility is located at 12395 Cortez Blvd. in Spring Hill. Their phone number is 1-888-795-2707 and you can visit their website at www.lifesouth.org, as well as their Facebook page LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.