LifeSouth celebrates new donor center

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers will cut the ribbon on its new location in the Steeplechase Publix shopping center off of Newberry Road this Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.

The location has accepted donors for the past two months, but now it’s time to celebrate the opening with food from Mi Apá Latin Café along with entertainment by Elio Piedra Entertainment.

Laura Bialeck, community development coordinator for LifeSouth, said everyone is welcome to attend the event and tour the new site.

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LifeSouth will hold two drawings for a $50 Visa gift card and the first 50 guests will get a goody bag. Visitors can also learn about donating blood if they’ve never been a donor.

“We hope the community comes out if they haven’t been before,” Bialeck said in a phone interview. “This will hopefully be the introduction.”

Visitors can get more information about the donation process and LifeSouth at the ribbon cutting.

The Jonesville location currently sees between five and seven donors daily with some days jumping up to double that number. Bialeck said 12 donors a day would be a great goal for the site.

LifeSouth planned the location around Alachua County’s continued growth on the west side.

“There’s a lot of people moving out to Jonesville and Newberry, and this just makes it much easier for them to donate blood and help the local blood supply,” Baileck said.

LifeSouth is the sole blood provider for UF Health, North Florida Regional Medical Center and the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center.

Since elective surgeries opened back up following the most recent COVID-19 surge, Bialeck said LifeSouth is in critical need of O negative blood and desperate need of platelets donations.

For platelet donations, donors keep their red blood cells that take a long time to reproduce. So platelet donors can give every two weeks.

The new Jonesville location operates Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donors at any LifeSouth location get an e-gift card and wellness screen that includes a COVID-19 antibody test.

Bialeck said the group that donates most frequently are between 40 and 65 years of age, with millennials being the least likely to donate. She added that one donation has a big impact and can save up to three lives.

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