3 places to donate blood in Birmingham—and why it’s important

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Bham Nowers Pat Byington and Beth Cunningham after donating blood! Photo via Beth Cunningham

Half an hour of your time could save up to three lives. Donating blood is one of the easiest ways to do something good—it doesn’t cost money, it’s quick, and you get free snacks after! Here are 3 places to donate right here in Birmingham, AL.

Why Donate?

Blood is one of the few things, at this point, that cannot be replicated in a lab. All types of blood donors are in seriously high demand—and donating is easier than you might think!

Blood donation by the numbers:

  • Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
  • 3 lives can potentially be saved by 1 blood donation
  • 100 pints of blood can be needed by 1 car accident victim
  • 42 days is the maximum shelf life of red blood cells
  • 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
  • Only 3% of eligible people donate blood yearly

Information provided by American Red Cross Blood Services.

Bham Now’s resident veteran donor, Pat Byington, offered a personal story about why he chooses to give blood regularly:

“A dear friend of mine went into childbirth years ago.  Unknown to her, she had a  bleeding disorder. She needed 8 pints of blood to replace what she lost postpartum.

I just happen to give blood that day, without knowing her situation. It struck me later on, that without me and countless people nationwide giving blood – daily –  she would no one longer be with us. Blood donations from all these people collectively saved her life.

Giving blood is something we ALL can do to make a difference.”

Pat Byington, Bham Now

Where Can I Donate in Birmingham?

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Blood donors get all kinds of cool perks—juice, cookies, t-shirts, good parking… What more could one want? Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Mobile blood drives can often be found throughout the greater Birmingham area. There are also a number of local plasma donation centers.

If you’re looking to donate, here are three stationary locations at which you can become a regular!

1. Red Cross–UAB Medical Center Blood Donation Center

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Since we work downtown here at Bham Now, we donated at the Red Cross location in UAB! These were our fabulous nurses—they took great care of us. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

2. Red Cross–Birmingham Blood Donation Center

  • 700 Caldwell Trace Birmingham, AL 35242
  • Monday-Tuesday 12PM-8PM | Wednesday 10AM-6PM | Friday-Sunday 7:30AM-3:30PM
  • This location has very flexible hours, so you can donate before or after your typical 9-5 workday.
  • Make an appointment here
  • Before you go, check your eligibility

3. LifeSouth Community Blood Center

  • 396 West Oxmoor Road Birmingham, AL 35209
  • Monday-Tuesday 9AM-7PM | Wednesday 9AM-5PM | Thursday 9AM-7PM | Friday 7AM-4PM | Saturday 9AM-3PM | Sunday 1PM-5PM
  • The donations collected at this center go directly into local hospitals. LifeSouth serves 72 hospitals in Alabama alone, and Birmingham donors will be helping Birmingham patients.
  • Make an appointment here
  • Before you go, check your eligibility

What’s the Process?

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Bham Nower Pat Byington beginning his donation process. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

I and another one of our Bham Now team members went out and donated ourselves so I could walk you through what you’re in for!

We scheduled our appointments online. It only took about 5 minutes or less. You can choose from a wide variety of times. Walk-ins are also welcome!

At the UAB donation center, there was designated parking for blood donors. After checking in, you get you little tiny finger prick to check your blood, answer some questions to make sure you are eligible, and you’re good to go.

The actual donation involved a quick stick in your arm and about 15-20 minutes total. Relatively painless and not too time-consuming. Afterward, you get patched up and get to choose your favorite juice and snack to replenish your sugar.

There’s a chance you may feel a little lightheaded after, but it should pass quickly. It’s not recommended to engage in highly strenuous activity or heavy lifting for the rest of the day, but other than that, recovery is quite simple.

Do you have a donation story you’d like to share? Let us know on social @BhamNow!

Beth Cunningham
Beth Cunningham

A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.

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