TEMPLE — Summer is a tricky time for blood donations.
People go on vacation, schools are out and there are lots of activities that take people’s minds off donating blood.
The Scott & White Blood Center furnishes blood to Scott & White hospitals throughout Central Texas, including Temple, College Station, Round Rock, Taylor and Llano.
To meet requirements, the center needs to collect 60 units of blood each day and 1,200 units a month, said Ashley Davis, Scott & White blood center donation recruiter.
Scott & White is a Level 1 Trauma Center with a helicopter service that brings in patients who are in the worst conditions, Cynthia Glover, blood center manager, said.
There may be more accidents on holidays, but there also are medical events that happen all year, she said. People need heart transplants or have aneurisms break.
“You could bleed to death in no time,” Glover said.
The blood center’s Boots and Badges donation effort runs through July.
“It’s a national campaign where people can come and donate blood in honor of an individual firefighter or police (officer), and that group will get credit for that donation,” Davis said.
The individual being recognized with the donation can be from anywhere, Glover said.
“When you give a unit of blood you can save up to two lives,” Davis said.
The unit of whole blood is separated into plasma and blood.
Plasma can be frozen and is stored for up to a year. Blood can be stored for 42 days, but donations can be made every 56 days.
“There’s a gap in there that’s difficult to fill,” Glover said.
The center relies on its regular donors who come in faithfully, Davis said.
“They really are lifesavers,” Davis said. “We don’t have to call them; we don’t have to remind them. They come in like clockwork.”
Area high schools donate a lot of blood to Scott & White.
“Those kids are very competitive,” Glover said.
Killeen high schools have Blood Wars toward the end of each school year, she said.
Donors have to be at least 17 years old and in general good health.
Recruiting donors requires some finesse.
“It’s about building relationships,” Davis said. “Recruiting is personal.”
Smaller communities tend to be very supportive.
“They seem to be connected to each other and have a community spirit,” Glover said.
The need for blood is an everyday occurrence and the rarest is the unit that’s not on the shelf, she said. It takes at least 24 hours for the donated blood to be put into use. The blood center is partnering with the bone marrow registry. Those who want to be on the registry need to have their blood typed, which can be done by the blood center.
The blood center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. It is located on the first floor of Scott & White Hospital, across from the McLane Dining Room.