Cyclists plan blood drive bike ride

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is sponsoring a “5 Points of Life” bicycle ride that will visit 30 cities in six states in 30 days. One of those cities is Blountsville during the October Harvest Festival there. The riders are a group of individuals which credit their survival to blood donors.

While LifeSouth is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization which welcomes corporate and individual cash or stock donations, that is not the purpose of the ride. The cyclists’ aim is not to raise money for any cause, but to raise awareness of the dire need for blood donors. According to one report, only five percent of those able to donate blood do so.

What is 5 Points of Life?

There are five ways donated blood, marrow, and tissue can be used to save lives:

• Whole blood can be separated into three products. Red cells are used for surgery patients and accident victims; plasma provides fluid for trauma and burn patients, and platelets help the blood to clot when needed.

• A process called apheresis can collect specific blood components and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor.

• Marrow donors can provide stem cells for patients who suffer from serious blood diseases.

• Organ and tissue donations such as kidneys, hearts, livers, lungs, and corneas can give life to those who otherwise could not survive.

• Blood from an umbilical cord can be frozen and stored for years to benefit those needing stem cell transplants.

LifeSouth said this in its website

“There are no substitutes for blood. Patients who need blood transfusions to survive depend on volunteer donors who give the gift of life. As a community blood center serving the community’s needs, we ask everyone to join us in a commitment to grow this community’s blood supply.We promise to partner with businesses and provide dynamic, fun, and innovative blood requirement programs. We promise to use every resource we have to uphold our commitment to meet the community’s need for blood.”

The festival will be an all-day event on Saturday, Oct. 11. LifeSouth and the town of Blountsville invite everyone to join the revelry, meet these riders, and visit a LifeSouth collection unit.