Blood donor center opens

The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas opened its fourth regional donor center July 5.

According to the center, local donors' blood is used to save local lives. Volunteer donors provide nearly 400 blood products needed daily by local patients.

Whole blood or platelets can be donated at the new center in the Old Creamery Building on Church Street in Concord.

CBCC is the primary blood supplier to 19 local hospitals, including Concord's CMC-NorthEast. Blood supply is significantly lower in summer months because students, who make up about 20 percent of the donor base, are not available to donate.

"As such, we often operate on a one- to two-day supply for our local patients," said Jennifer Teague, director of sponsorship development and public relations for CBCC.

Martin Grable, president and CEO of Community Blood Center, said opening a donor center in Cabarrus County has been a long-term goal.

"We now have a convenient fixed site, in addition to our many community blood drives, for the dedicated donors in Concord and the surrounding areas," he said.

Terry Fesperman, 48, crushes stone at Vulcan Materials in Concord. His blood type is A-positive, and his blood also is CMV-negative. CMV-negative means a person does not carry the cytomegalovirus, a common virus that holds no effects or symptoms for most people but prevents them from donating blood for newborns. Fesperman's blood can be used for newborns, which is why he started to donate platelets less than two years ago, he said.

"If they used it anywhere, it would be great," he said while donating at the new center July 12, the day of the grand opening celebration. "But because it can go to babies, it's extra special. (Donating platelets) is a little time-consuming, but it's easy."

Planning for the center began more than a year ago, said Teague, who expects 100 whole-blood donors and 100 platelet donors per month.

"As support grows for this center, as it has in our other centers, we will expand collection days and hours to best accommodate the donors of this community," she said. "We've developed a large donor base in the region, so it was only natural that as the donor base grew we would build a donor center in Concord."

CBCC chose to open the Concord site to meet the supply of the increasing donor population in Cabarrus County.

"We recognized how many (donors) were traveling to other fixed sites or mobile drives to help support local patients, so we wanted to provide a convenient fixed site for them to have access to give blood more frequently," said Teague.

Whole-blood and platelet donors fill out a health history form, complete a mini-physical, donate blood or platelets and then have a snack and a drink. Donating whole blood typically takes less than 45 minutes, and platelet donations average about 70 minutes.

Platelet donation is an automated collection process that removes the whole blood from the donor, retaining their platelets and plasma and then returning red cells back to the donor.