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New Blood Center: July 26, 2012

Whether more people are on vacation or it’s just too hot, nationwide the summer months are challenging for blood donation centers. At the same time, with storms and other disasters, the demand is still high.

A new storefront recently set up shop in south Fort Myers. It’s in the business of blood.

“We need about 800 units a week just to keep up the demand of all the hospitals and outlying sites that use blood,” says Nancy Hendrick, Community Relations Coordinator for the Lee Memorial Blood Center.

This is Lee Memorial Health Systems first off-site blood donor center. The rest are in hospitals. They hoped to make this less clinical and friendlier.

“We have five donor beds and we have our platelet machine to take platelet donations.  They can enjoy their time here, watch TV, nice flat screen TV we have in here.  The colors and everything are kind of earth tones to make you feel comfortable,” says Hendrick.

It couldn’t come at a better time. The summer doldrums drain local blood supplies.

“So we really need to rely on our community members here to have them step up to the plate and maybe donate one more time than their normal donation period,” says Hendrick.

If you want to get people in the door, you have to go where the people are. Being in a strip mall is a good way to catch the eye of passersby.

Jim Sherman had no problem finding the new location.

“It’s very convenient, I mean it really is.  Easy to get into, to get out of, and so I would encourage anyone to come and do it.  You’re doing something for someone else and you’re also doing something for yourself,” says Sherman.

He’s used to rolling up his sleeves. The blood center is looking for more like him. While donations dry up in the summer, the need for blood doesn’t.

“There’s still a lot of traumas. Some people take time to get hip replacement or surgery scheduled and that’s a need, and also Cancer Center uses a lot of blood and blood products,” says Hendrick.

This is one business which isn’t trying to make a profit and plans to give everything back to the community.