Bedford blood drive

Amris Bedford

Red Cross to host two drives in honor of Amris

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The Red Cross will be hosting two blood drives in honor of Amris Bedford in coming weeks. Bedford is currently undergoing cancer treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

The blood drives will be held from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at First Baptist Church in Blackshear and from 2-7 p.m. Monday, April 13, at Offerman Baptist Church.

Blood drive organizers did consider postponing the drives due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but critical blood shortages prompted them to move ahead as planned. The drives will abide by all current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulations at this time.

Currently the CDC does not consider blood drives a “social gathering,” so their recommendation of no gatherings of 10 or more people does not apply.

“We’re going to take every precaution, but I know from all indications the blood supply (is low),” says Jake Dixon, local blood drive coordinator. “I wouldn’t even think about (holding) it if it wasn’t for that … it’s critically low now.”

Tina Etheridge, regional blood drive organizer with the Red Cross, confirms the agency is following all CDC guidelines, including keeping all donors six feet apart, cleaning stations and equipment before and after each donor, wearing gloves and taking the temperature of all staff members and donors.

A staff member checks every person’s temperature before they enter the donation site. Anyone with a temperature over 99.5 is not allowed in, Etheridge says.