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Medic celebrates one year in Farragut

Medic is celebrating the first anniversary of its Farragut branch, located at 11000 Kingston Pike, behind Pittsburgh Paints.

“We’re hard to find, unfortunately … that’s been probably the hardest part. It’s been difficult for people to find us,” said Christi Fightmaster with Medic.

The Farragut location of Medic opened June 24, 2007. Since that date, 2,804 donors have visited the center, donating platelets, whole blood and “double red cells.”

“Before the Farragut center opened, this [downtown] facility was the only place you could donate platelets. That was a major reason we wanted to have a solid presence out west and specifically in Farragut, to increase the number of platelet donations.

“We’re just going where the people are,” Fightmaster added.

“It’s so important for us to get people there because people aren’t driving downtown,” Fightmaster said of blood donation since the hike in gas prices.

“So now we’re even more excited that we’ve got a presence out west where people already are, and we’re hoping that makes it that much more convenient.

“The whole reason behind this is that we are doing our best to make blood donation and blood product donation as convenient as possible,” she added.

Fightmaster is grateful of the Farragut community’s response to blood drives at Town Hall. She claimed they are some of the best drives Medic sponsors.

“We usually do really well at town of Farragut [blood drives]. But we want people to know they don’t have to wait for that specific day or blood drive; they can stop in our Farragut location any day of the work week,” Fightmaster said.

“We encourage everyone in the area to just stop by and donate blood. It doesn’t take very long … and it’s a substantial gift to the community,” she added.

Medic serves 21 counties and 29 hospitals. “We’re seeing the demand for these products grow at 6 or 7 percent each year,” Fightmaster said.

“It’s a huge jump when your donor base stays fairly constant … we may see a three percent increase in donors over the year,” she added.

“We are always in a deficit. It’s a struggle every day to keep up with demands from our local hospitals … we are the only supplier for hospitals in our area.”

Besides the ubiquitous shirt and refreshment given for donating blood, donors earn other rewards.

“Right now through Labor Day, we partner with Chick-fil-A, so everyone who donates will get a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich. And we really appreciate that partnership,” Fightmaster said.

Every week, a donor wins tickets to a Tennessee Smokies home baseball game.

In addition, Fightmaster mentioned the Medic’s Family Blood Coverage program. In the program, Medic agrees to pay for any blood needed by the donor or his/her IRS dependents. For each donation, the donor receives an additional year of credit in this program. Donors can share the credits or store them.

“So if you donated twice this year, you would be covered until 2010,” Fightmaster said of whole blood donations. Platelet and double red donations earn two credits each.

“This is really worth more than any of the items I just mentioned,” she said.

“It’s just our way of thanking our donors,” Fightmaster added.

“It is just so quick and easy and painless ... I just wish more people would do it. So many people want to make a difference in the community, and here’s a way that doesn’t cost you anything … and all it takes is a little bit of time,” Fightmaster said.

The Farragut center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday.

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