For more than a decade, Shepeard Community Blood Center has networked in the local community to hold blood drives and save lives. In an email to The Crossroads last Thursday, Shepeard Blood’s Ashley Whitaker, Director of Community Resources, recapped the latest drive held at Swainsboro High School. According to her, almost 300 lives were saved two weeks ago alone. Thousands more have been saved since the beginning of Shepeard’s time here in Emanuel.
Coordinated by Swainsboro High’s FBLA chapter for August 20, a total of 89 donors—students, staff, and community members—reported to the concession area of the new gym and gave blood to benefit the Shepeard Community Blood Center in Augusta. Because each pint saves three lives, the local effort will help an impressive 267 people.
Whitaker says this was just one of the many successful drives in our area. As an extension of that, she explained the history between Shepeard Community Blood Center and local blood drives, which first came to the area in 2006 as a way to support Emanuel Medical Center. Whitaker says organizations within the Swainsboro community, including SHS, have banded together every year, multiple times a year, to meet collection goals for the hospital by hosting blood drives. Everything collected at Shepeard stays local and supplies hospitals both here in Georgia and out of state in nearby South Carolina. More than 50 drives have been held at Swainsboro High. While she didn’t have the exact number of donations those drives have raised throughout the last 15 years, she did say it easily reaches into the thousands, which, of course, lends to even more lives saved.
“I don’t think this last drive was the most donors we have ever seen at Swainsboro High School, but it was a very successful blood drive. The students there really come through for our local patients. We are always impressed by the students at SHS and their willingness to help complete strangers who have no way to thank them. They aren’t just trying to get out of class; they genuinely want to save lives. We appreciate SHS and its commitment to helping us save local lives. We are currently experiencing a nationwide blood shortage, so having wonderful partners like SHS is so important. We cannot thank them enough for hosting blood drives with Shepeard.”
Shepeard Community Blood Center also sponsors the Red Cord Hero Program for high school students. Students who donate blood at least three times during a school year earn red honor cords to wear at their high school graduation ceremony.
Helping with the blood drive effort at the school were FBLA advisors Dr. Donald Avery and Mrs. Linda Kelly. They, along with Shepeard representatives and other school leaders, look forward to the next drive, which will be held November 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be the last SHS blood drive of the year, so mark your calendars now.