Summer is traditionally the season to travel. And it is also traditionally the season for blood shortages because a lot of donors are out of town.
While it isn't exactly a tourist attraction, the mobile blood bus is set up the day we caught up with it in the parking lot of River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg. These specially equipped buses go all over the state making it more convenient for donors to give blood. Take a look around in the Vicksburg National Military Park and you'll see one of the reasons blood reserves go lower in the summer time. People are on vacation. And when people are away from home, it's not convenient for them to give blood. Tony Bahou with the Mississippi Blood Services says they expect the lull in donations every summer.
"Well it's typical for the summer because high schools and colleges are out and the rest of us are on vacation and going some other places, so we lose about 20% from high schools and colleges and the other people that normally donate are busy doing their other things with those summer activities and that's why donations usually go down, although the need obviously remains the same," said Bahou.
18-year-old Mark Sills of Vicksburg managed to cull time out of his day to donate. He just turned old enough to give blood last year. This is his third time to donate already.
"Well it's a good cause and other people can't do it and I don't mind it so I don't see why I shouldn't," said Sills.
As an added incentive this summer, Mark and any other donors at Mississippi Blood Services will have a chance to win this truck just for being so nice and giving blood. Since blood supplies dip in summer because so many people are on the road, Mississippi Blood Services is offering an incentive for folks who do stop in and take the time to roll up their sleeves with a shot at winning a nice way to get out on the road themselves. And besides, there's no more convenient way to become a hero than to lay back and relax for a few minutes.
"We call them every day heroes. You don't have to drag a person out of a burning building or turn over a car like I've seen on the news," said Bahou. "You can actually save a life by just donating blood. Takes less than an hour and you really do impact people in Mississippi."
So, take a half-hour, donate blood, save some lives, maybe win you a nice way to go looking around Mississippi this summer at the same time.
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