Shepeard Community Blood Center filling urgent need for supply

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Steve Cooke said he's as busy as the next person this holiday season, but he was at the Evans Shepherd Community Blood Center anyways giving back.

Cooke said, "This is to whoever needs it. It saves people and the community needs the blood."

Officials said Cooke is right, especially this holiday season. They need all types of blood, but especially O negative, the universal donor officials said everyone can use.

Kevin Belanger, Shepherd Community Blood Center CEO said, "We try to keep a three to five day supply on the shelf. Right now, we have three. We are trying to make sure we have enough going into the holidays."

Belanger said only six percent of the population has type O negative blood to give, but the need is much higher than that.

Belanger said, "Babies have to have 0 negative blood if they need it because their immune systems can't handle anything else, so do people who come into the trauma units."

And he said those are people who don't stop needing help fast, even when the holidays have slowed so many other things down.

"We definitely have a shortage of blood during the holidays. We're not able to go into the high schools and people are shopping; they really don't have a lot of time."

But guys like Cooke said they'll find time.

Cooke said, "I just feel giving blood is a way to help the community."

Officials say red blood cells are good for 42 days, platelets are good for five days and plasma can last a year.

If you're interested in donating, Shepherd Community Blood Centers and mobile units are available seven days a week at 1533 Wrightsboro Road, 4329 Washington Road and 353 Fabian Drive in Aiken, South Carolina. For more information, contact Pamela Rascon at 706-833-9086 or Greg Bearden at 706-833-8314.