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As Alabama blood banks close due to Sally, officials plead for donations from Florida, Georgia

LifeSouth is pleading for citizens in South Georgia and North Florida to donate blood for Alabama areas hit by Hurricane Sandy.
LifeSouth is pleading for citizens in South Georgia and North Florida to donate blood for Alabama areas hit by Hurricane Sandy.(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 7:24 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - Blood centers across Alabama shut down Wednesday due to Hurricane Sally, and one non-profit group is urging North Florida and South Georgia citizens to donate immediately.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, which is based in Gainesville, serves about 30 locations throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Their Mobile, Daphne and Dothan facilities were shut down due to the weather, and according to District Coordinator Laura Bialeck, they anticipate keeping them closed for a couple days: halting blood collection in those areas.

“It can have catastrophic results to the local blood supply,” she told WCTV.

And according to her, the storm hit the cotton state when their inventory was already drastically low. She says the organization faces a shortage every summer, but this year’s supply is even shorter due to the pandemic.

“So many businesses haven’t opened back up to have blood drives: Same thing with festivals or high schools or churches,” Bialeck said. “So that makes things even more urgent.”

The organization claims 100% of South Georgia Medical Center’s blood supply is provided by donations made to its bank.

But when natural disasters like Sally strike, they help out wherever the vital fluid is in critical demand.

“So step up the blood donations now, and it will help,” she said. “We can send blood to the hospitals in Alabama that need it.”

They’re calling for donations of all blood types: Especially type-O, which can help others with any type.

“This is really a good time to support the people who really need it,” Bialeck said.

The group is also pleading for platelet donations, which are scarce but typically used for treating cancer patients.

“There are some blood products [platelets] that will only last for five days once they’re donated,” she said. “So if two days and three days go by and we don’t collect those products, it could wipe out the entire blood supply.”

All donations made to LifeSouth are also tested for COVID-19 antibodies. For free, donors will learn whether they’ve been exposed to the virus or not.

If you would like to find a drive near you and help save a life, click here.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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