Blood donation need critical in Tupelo | Local News
TUPELO • There’s a critical need for blood donations in Tupelo, and the situation is only going to be exacerbated by the upcoming holiday.
“Holidays are always a challenge, but this Fourth of July will be an exceptional challenge,” said Melinda Murphree, donor recruitment supervisor for Vitalant, a blood donation center in Tupelo. “During COVID, extra-curricular activities were limited. Now, a lot of people are getting out and traveling.”
Increased travel means more car accidents, motorcycle accidents and boating accidents, Murphree said. Increased travel also means people have less time to donate.
“In the summertime, we usually see a slip in donations,” said Stephanie Kizziar, communications manager for Vitalant in the southeastern division. “People are out of their routines.”
Blood drives also come to a halt at schools and colleges during the summer, and that results in a loss of donations, Murphree said.
All types of blood are needed, but Vitalant is targeting O-negative and O-positive donors, she said.
“Anyone can receive O-negative blood,” Murphree said. “It’s the universal donor. When you don’t have time to find out what blood type someone is, you give them O-negative blood.”
Vitalant, located at 4326 Eason Blvd., is open for donations Monday-Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Friday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I heard something the other day that really resonated with me,” Kizziar said. “If someone came to your front door and said, ‘Help, someone needs their life saved and it will only take one hour’ – basically the same time it takes for a blood donation – would you deny someone their life?”
Murphree said it’s imperative for people to realize that hospitals need blood products every day.
“You never know when it’s going to be your family member who needs help,” she said.