Blood donations needed, drives planned in Sumter


As donors delay giving blood to take final summer vacations and prepare for school to start, the American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donations to help end a summer blood shortage.

Thousands of donors have rolled up a sleeve this summer, but donations are not keeping pace with patient needs, according to a news release from the nonprofit, which supplies about 40% of the nation's blood among other natural disaster, life skills and humanitarian efforts. To encourage donations, the Red Cross is thanking those who give through Aug. 29 with a $5 Amazon gift card that will be delivered via email. The incentive program was made possible through a $1 million donation from Amazon.

Donors can make an appointment to by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood can safely be given every 56 days.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of ID are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years or older (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weight at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years or younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Upcoming blood drives in Sumter

- Thursday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Shaw BX Exchange Building, 370 Rhodes Ave., Building 1403

- Thursday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Palmetto Health Tuomey, 129 N. Washington St.

- Thursday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Westminster Presbyterian Church, 230 Alice Drive

- Saturday, Aug. 24: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Lakewood Baptist Church, 3140 Nazarene Church Road

- Thursday, Aug. 29: 2-7 p.m., Grace Baptist Church, 219 W. Calhoun St.