The American Red Cross has confirmed the closure of its blood and platelet donation center in Mountain Home on Feb. 1.Located at 1041 Highland Park Circle in the Georgetown Square, the office has been in operation for more than two decades in Mountain Home. The Red Cross will also close its platelet donation center in Jonesboro. The centers were the organization’s only remaining platelet donation centers in the state.
A statement for the Red Cross’ Missouri-Arkansas Region says the closure was made after “careful consideration.”
The statement adds, “With a decrease in planned platelet distributions, the Red Cross needs to adjust its operations in order to deliver cost-effective and reliable products and services for patients in need.”
Jennifer Baker, a Mountain Home resident who serves on the city council, donates platelets twice a month at the facility. She says she was heartbroken to learn of the center’s closing.
Baker began donating in the 1990s and is concerned about her ability to do so as frequently, as well as for the employees who are losing their jobs due to the closure. The Red Cross says three employees in Mountain Home will be let go, as well as four in Jonesboro.
The Red Cross says there will continue to be donation opportunities in the area, just not for platelet donors.
“The Red Cross will continue to hold blood drives in the Jonesboro and Mountain Home areas, but unfortunately, platelet donors would have to try another blood services organization in the area – which I know there is not anything close,” says Joe Zydlo, regional communications manager for the Red Cross. “We encourage our valued blood and platelet donors to continue giving blood with the Red Cross at area blood drives to help meet patient needs. For questions about where to donate blood, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org.”
The organization also says, “The two closures will not affect the availability and timely distribution of blood and blood products to our hospital partners and patients.”
“As part of our broader humanitarian mission, the Red Cross will also continue to provide disaster preparedness and response activities, services to military members, veterans and their families, and health and safety training,” adds Zydlo. “We remain committed to the communities we serve here in Arkansas and stand ready to provide assistance when needed.”
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