GREENFIELD — The start of summer signifies not only the end of the school year but also the beginning of sports leagues, vacations and county fairs. Through the flurry of all that activity, though, one service is overlooked during the months when experts say it’s needed most: donating blood.
Representatives from Hancock Regional Health said the hospital typically sees an increase in the number of severe injuries treated during summer months but often has a decreased supply of blood.
Officials with the Indiana Blood Center, a nonprofit organization committed to providing a continuous and safe supply of blood to state hospitals, echoed that concern, noting schools typically serve as host sites for blood drives, which results in a dip when classes are not in session.
“There are times when the blood center runs low, and we have to fill out specific requests to receive more,” said Janet Strauch, director of laboratory services at Hancock Regional Health. “We prefer to keep plenty on hand, and we always have some that we can give to everyone, but sometimes we can’t keep it stocked as high as we want in the summer months.”
The emergency room often treats more car accident victims during the summer, Strauch said, adding that the hospital’s new oncology center has increased demand for blood donations, too.
About a third of all blood donations collected by the Indiana Blood Center come from school blood drives, said Lucy Smith, communications specialist at the center.
“When summer rolls around, we lose a lot of donors,” she said. “To compensate for that loss, we typically make a big push to ask donors to come in to give blood during the summer months.”
Hancock County residents have an opportunity to donate blood at an upcoming blood drive in Greenfield.
The Indiana Blood Center will conduct a drive at Bradley United Methodist Church Monday from 4 to 7:15 p.m. xxxx. Interested donors can schedule an appointment on the Indiana Blood Center website, and walk-ins are also welcome.
Karry Book, a lifetime member of Bradley United Methodist, has helped organize several blood drives at the church over the years.
“We feel like it’s our community duty to try to help ourselves in a sense,” Book said. “… It just fits into our whole church philosophy.”
The church typically collects 12 to 15 units of blood for each drive but would like increase those numbers, Book said.
Upcoming blood drives:
When: 4-7:15 p.m. Monday
Where: Bradley United Methodist, 210 W. Main St., Greenfield
Other information: Appointments can be scheduled online at indianablood.org or by calling the church office at 317-462-2662, and walk-ins are welcome.
When: 4-8 p.m. Thursday
Where: New Palestine High School, 4485 Victory Drive
To find other local upcoming drives, visit donorpoint.org.