Summer lull leads to need for blood, plasma donors - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Summer lull leads to need for blood, plasma donors

Larry Bachman may be saving a life just by donating plasma. (Source: WAFF) Larry Bachman may be saving a life just by donating plasma. (Source: WAFF)
MADISON, AL (WAFF) -

Summer is traditionally a time when blood banks run low, and efforts to encourage donations ramp up.

Larry Bachman could be saving a life as he sits back and pumps for a plasma donation. His tradition began long ago.   

"I got started doing this when I was in the Air Force about 20 years ago," Bachman said. "I was actually stationed in Illinois at the time. And there was a young girl that had cancer, and she needed a platelet donation. So I started then, just to try to prolong her life."

And now he is a regular donor. Bachman explains the process as his blood is collected.

"What they're doing is circulating my blood through a centrifuge, separating the platelets and blood cells. And eventually I get everything back except the plasma."

It's a good thing Larry is here, because the blood supply is running low. Victoria Bell is the district community development coordinator for LifeSouth.

"We find that our major critical time is during the heat of the summer [when] people are on vacation. They are off doing their own thing," she said.

Because all the blood remains in the local area, shelves everywhere are showing the need. And there are specific areas of urgency.  

"The critical need that we are seeing is for the O-negative, which is your universal blood type, and the A-negative."

Our own photographer, Jim Segina, just happened to fit the bill and decided to share.

His donation time didn't take as long as Larry. Larry usually brings a book. "This takes about an hour and a half to two hours. A regular blood donation would take 15 to 20 minutes," Larry said.

Bell says they need all the donors they can get right now - the need for blood never goes on vacation.

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