Theme blood drives, prizes help local blood bank

The atmosphere at Lifeline Blood Services on Feb. 9 was festive.

Party foods like brownies and cookies were placed on the counters.

Red and pink balloons floated above the tables in the lobby.

This was a day for celebration. But it was also a day to do work.

“Themed blood drives like this are really beneficial for us because we’re always in need of blood and platelet donors because the need is constant,” said Melinda Reid, the marketing manager for Lifeline.

Lifeline typically has a themed blood drive each month, usually linked to a holiday or special occasion.

Often there are door prizes or gift cards offered to donors in addition to the t-shirt that donors get every day of the year.

The theme days are usually the days in which the bulk of a month’s donations come in as donations in the mobile blood centers, which are usually present at different places throughout rural West Tennessee, are still trying to come back from the pandemic.

While Lifeline’s main location on Sterling Farms Drive in North Jackson as well as the location in Dyersburg both have steady traffic of donors coming in most days, the typical daily traffic is a fraction of what Lifeline gets on its themed days.

February’s was connected to Valentine’s Day. March’s will have green throughout the facility for St. Patrick’s Day to replace the cupid décor from this month.

Lifeline supplies blood for hospitals and medical centers in 19 counties of West Tennessee, and with the short shelf life for blood and platelets, donations are needed continuously.

People who are in surgery or have been involved in accidents or traumatic medical emergencies are the people who need blood transfusions the most, and events like holidays or inclement weather that hinder people traveling on the road also negatively affect the local blood supply for a couple weeks afterward.

Brandon Shields,