LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release)- Little Rock Central High School, in partnership with the Arkansas Blood Institute, hosted a blood drive this week and exceeded the goal for the event, according to Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) Director Mario L. Sedlock.
“We ended the day collecting blood from 104 donors and as a result, we have the potential to make a difference in more than 300 lives,” Sedlock said. “I was also excited to see that of those donations, 76 were first-time donors! In our industry that is not a number you see very often,” he added.
Organizations like ABI have been challenged in meeting the blood supply needs in the greater community, including the demand in hospitals. Sedlock says, unfortunately, people often take for granted that the blood supply will always be available when needed and stressed that the volatility of that supply is a “day in and day out” endeavor. That is why it is so important for volunteers to donate daily.
Sedlock says ABI is taking additional precautionary measures to ensure that donating is safe, using Arkansas Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, implementing social distancing, having workers and donors wear masks, taking temperatures and sanitizing equipment.
“We are proud of all our community partnerships, but we are most humbled to be able to serve the community through this blood drive event,” said Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore.
Each donor, age 18 and older, received a free COVID-19 antibody test. This testing initiative, provided at all donor centers and mobile blood drives, is a result of an immediate need for blood donations due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. In addition to the antibody test, a free t-shirt and admission ticket to Magic Springs was also given to each donor.
“We all know of someone who has relied on, or may need this kind of support in the future, so it is more important now than ever to be a donor,” said Poore. “If you missed the opportunity this week, there are still ways you can donate at the Arkansas Blood Institute location at Markham and Shackleford.”