Blood donations, screening for bone marrow donors at Point City Drugs

(Top) Bloood donors, Brock Turnipseed, Amber Jacobs, Erin Molina, Billy Thompson, with Vitalant phlebotomist Ashley Hays, took part in the blood drive at Point City Drugs, in honor of Lila Usry.
Staff Writer

Everyone would welcome the opportunity to be instrumental in saving someone's life. It is human nature to want to help each other. Donating blood is a great way to help someone that you don't even know, but to donate blood and be screened as a possible bone marrow donor is a very selfless act. Vitalant's Blood Mobile was parked in front of Point City Drugs Saturday, accepting blood donations and doing bone marrow screenings.

Blair Thompson, owner of Point City Drugs in West Point and Caledonia Pharmacy in Caledonia, schedules a blood drive every year in Caledonia.

"There aren't that many places in Caledonia to sponsor a blood drive," Thompson said. "So I sponsor one every year with Vitalant. When they called me this year, it was right after Lila Usry had been taken to St. Jude for treatment."
She saw on Facebook where Heather Usry had said Lila was undergoing blood transfusions. She asked Vitalant if she could sponsor a blood drive in Lila's honor.

"I asked about screenings for bone marrow donors, as well," Thompson said. "So we got in touch with ‘Be The Match’ and they sent us the swabs to allow people to be tested as a possible bone marrow donor. We want to do everything we can for Lila."

Point City Drugs had 17 potential blood donors sign up for donations by Saturday morning, but even more were coming in asking to donate.

"Brock Turnipseed and Billy Thompson are both O negative," Thompson said. "They are doing a double donation."

Turnipseed said he had donated blood before, but it had been some time since his last donation.

"There is a shortage of blood right now," Turnipseed said. "I hadn't given in a long time but I wanted to today. Everyone wants to help Lila. Donate blood and set an example for the community and for your children."

Four donors at a time were giving blood in the Vitalant Blood Mobile and there were always more people ready to take their place.

"I had asked Vitalant to send two blood mobiles, I knew people would come and donate," Thompson said. "They could only send one, so there is a wait. But they said as long as there were donors they would stay."

The blood collected Saturday is credited toward Lila Usry. The blood that is a match to her, will be for her use during treatment. All other blood donations will stay in Mississippi.

"If you were not able to come to Point City Drugs," Erica Turnipseed, pharmacist at Point City Drugs, said. "You can still donate at North Mississippi Medical Center and tell them the donation is in honor of Lila Usry. The donation will be credited to her."

On behalf of the employees of Point City Drugs, Thompson said she would like to thank the community for all of its support.