By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Amid closures and cancellations due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), blood donations in the region have declined dramatically. With that in mind, the Wolftown Community Club has partnered with the American Red Cross to host a Blood Drive on Wednesday, April 15 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wolftown Community Center.
“The Red Cross has lost over 600 blood drives across the region in North Carolina due to COVID-19,” said Venita Wolfe, a Red Cross volunteer who also works for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Human Resources Dept. as a training and development specialist. “It is very important to keep our trauma centers and our hospitals supplied with crucial blood units. Cancer patients and children are some of the highest users of blood products.”
Organizers have set a goal of 40 productive blood units for Wednesday’s event.
Wolfe said the donation process itself will be overseen by certified phlebotomists. Donors will be greeted at the door by a Red Cross representative and immediately have their temperature taken for safety reasons in regards to COVID-19. “They will be checked into their appointment and asked to read Red Cross materials. They will be given masks and gloves to adhere to safety precautions. Donors will be taken to a screening area where they review the donor’s medical history. And, upon clearance, the donor will be taken to the donor area to begin the donation process.”
Tuff Jackson, Wolftown Community Club chairperson, said, “We had planned this a couple of months ago before the virus hit. We’ve been taking it one step at a time making sure everything was covered through the PHHS (Public Health and Human Services), and we got the okay to go ahead and have it.”
Anyone 17-years-old or older can sign up to be a donor. Sixteen-year-olds can be donors if they have permission from their parent or guardian. Event organizers are encouraging people to make appointments, but walk-ins will be taken and worked into the schedule.
Information from the Red Cross states, “Donating blood products is essential to community health and the need for blood products is constant. As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, healthy individuals can still donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations. The Red Cross follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need.”
Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a recent statement, “We need people to start turning out in force to give blood.”
To schedule an appointment for Wednesday’s event, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS or John Clodfelter, Red Cross regional representative, (828) 458-6682.