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Donors needed for 'Blood Unites Us' blood drive in Fort Smith

COVID-19 has taken a toll on the blood supply, and Arkansas Blood Institute has an immediate need for eligible blood donors
Credit: KFSM

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Blood donors embody the best of who Arkansans are, giving selflessly so the state can rise and recover together.

COVID-19 has taken a toll on the blood supply, and Arkansas Blood Institute has an immediate need for eligible blood donors.

Arkansas Blood Institute is hosting a Blood Unites Us blood drive with the City of Fort Smith and the United Way of Fort Smith Area on Wednesday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th Street, at the North Rotunda in Fort Smith. 

Arkansas Blood Institute is offering free COVID-19 antibody testing for blood donors ages 18 and up. Antibody test results will be mailed post-donation.

Healthy donors are urged to give blood and appointments are needed to allow for recommended social distancing.

“Our state is making great strides to overcome the effects of this unprecedented pandemic, and Arkansas Blood Institute is proud to innovate this testing initiative,” said John Armitage, M.D., president & CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “The antibody tests will give our generous donors the important health information they need as they get back to work and activities. We are grateful to our community partners, The City of Fort Smith and the United Way of Fort Smith Area, for paving the way to ensure a robust blood supply for local patients during the crucial summer months.”

Donors will receive a free t-shirt and one free entry voucher to Magic Springs Theme & Water Park to be redeemed at yourbloodinstitute.org

Arkansas Blood Institute supports the inventory for patients in more than 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.  

Arkansas Blood Institute’s donor centers and mobile blood drives have instituted additional cleaning methods, decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently. In addition, donor centers and mobile blood drives have been adapted to allow for social distancing. All phlebotomy staff will wear masks. Staff members and donors will also have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility, to ensure only healthy individuals are present.

Arkansas Blood Institute is following recommendations and guidelines set forth by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks). Arkansas Blood Institute is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion.

Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling 1-877-340-8777 or visiting arkbi.org

RELATED: Red Cross testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies