Give blood, help give someone a new start

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 25, 2011

In March, many people are planting their gardens, preparing for the fantastic colors of spring and conducting a little spring cleaning. This March, why not add one more task to the springtime to-do list by making a commitment to donate life-saving blood?

Volunteer blood donors in Covington, Conecuh, Monroe and Escambia counties will get a chance to give blood and save lives at the Jackson Hewitt “Red Cross Month” blood drives.

Local drives scheduled include:

• Thurs. March 3, 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Wal Mart Andalusia, 1991 MLK Expressway).

• March 2, Sitel Andalusia, open to the public, 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

• March 3 at Wal-mart Andalusia, sponsored by Jackson Hewitt who will give $35 off tax preparation for each donor, 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

• March 9, Florala High School gym, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

• March 23, Straughn High School gym, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

• March 30, Red Level High School auditorium, TBA.

Also, March is officially “Red Cross Month” in the United States.  As one of the nation’s best known humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross has been at the forefront of helping Americans prevent, prepare for and respond to large and small disasters for 130 years.  Communities depend on the Red Cross in times of need, and the Red Cross depends on the support of the American people to achieve its mission.

Because blood can be separated into three components – blood, platelets and plasma – one donation can benefit up to three individuals. Because it takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals, it is important that a donation be made ahead of an emergency. If everyone who was eligible would donate four times a year, there would never be a blood shortage.

If you plan on giving blood, make sure to prepare yourself for the process. Double your fluid intake in the 48 hours leading up to the drive. Make sure to eat a nutritious meal the night before, as well as the day of, the blood drive. Eat iron-rich foods such as lean beef, broccoli, eggs, greens, shrimp or dried beans. Also consume foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the drive.

All presenting volunteer donors in the months of January, February and March will be entered into a regional drawing for one of two pairs of round-trip tickets on Delta Air Lines as part of the “Help Save Lives and Take to the Skies” promotion. Also, all presenting volunteer donors will receive a $35 discount on tax preparation courtesy of Jackson Hewitt.