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Blood donations down during summer

Blood donations down during summer

By: Jeremy Pittari - June 5, 2024

  • Mississippi Blood Services is holding a grill giveaway now through June 14 to entice more donations.

In the heat of summer, blood donations are more important than ever, Mississippi Blood Services says. That is why they are holding a grill giveaway to entice more donations. 

Mississippi Blood Services was founded in 1979 and is the Magnolia State’s only FDA licensed blood donation center. 

To maintain a steady supply of blood, Mississippi Blood Services needs to receive 200 units of blood donations daily, but current levels are much lower than the target, said Director of Public Relations and Marketing Kasey Dickson. 

“Because of the summer months our collection is definitely low,” Dickson said. “We are in need of all blood types to be perfectly honest.”

One reason blood donations drop during this time of year is due to high school students being out of class for the summer break. Dickson noted that a sizeable amount of donations are collected at local high schools.

To encourage donations, Mississippi Blood Services is holding a grill giveaway. Dickson said the organization has three Weber grills that will be given away to three blood donors. To enter, simply donate blood at any Mississippi Blood Services collection facility, including fixed and mobile locations. All donors who give blood until June 14 will be entered into the giveaway, with winners announced that day.

Blood donations are categorized in one of eight blood types, which include A, B, AB and O all with either a positive or negative based on the presence or absence of particular antigens. The rarest types are AB+, AB- and O-. About 6.5 percent of the population has O- blood, while 4.3 percent have AB+ and 0.7 percent have AB-, according to Mississippi Blood Services. The O- blood type can be given to any patient regardless of their own blood type, but a person with O- can only receive that blood type. 

Donations can include whole blood, platelets and red cells. Dickson said platelet donations are currently in the greatest need.

“Our platelet collection has drastically decreased over the last couple of days,” Dickson explained. 

While Mississippi Blood Services has three fixed collection locations, which include Oxford, Flowood and Cleveland, there are seven mobile donation stations that operate statewide. If a potential donor lives too far from a fixed location, Dickson said they can find a mobile location that is collecting donations by checking the Blood Services website

“So, if an individual can’t get close to one of our fixed locations, they can go on our website and put their zip code in and find a drive that is near them,” Dickson said.

Business owners can help by hosting a blood drive for their employees and the community. Dickson added that there are benefits to hosting a blood drive that go beyond saving lives, such as tax credits.

She urges anyone even considering donating blood to reach out to their nearest collection point. Only about three percent of Mississippi’s population donates blood, the organization states. 

“Someone could possibly need their blood. If you think about it, someone who was in a car accident could potentially need 50 units of blood, just for that one accident,” Dickson explained. “That’s just one person who’s had an accident in one day.”

The organization states that of every 83 births in the United States, one baby needs a blood transfusion. In those instances, it is best to have O- negative blood on the shelf because it can be given more quickly. 

Donations collected by Mississippi Blood Services are provided to more than 45 hospitals across Mississippi, Dickson said, with local needs being met before blood is transferred to other areas.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy: