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Blood supply hits emergency status

Normally during the summer, blood supply levels are critical, but this year, there is an emergency shortage in types O and A positive.
“In 18 years with the Red Cross, I have never seen the levels so low for so long,” said Tim Miller, Red Cross senior director of donor services. “We’re in pretty bad shape. Emergency isn’t a word that we use lightly, but we need help from the public to get our levels up.”
The blood shortage actually started in the fall of 2002 and has never picked up.
“We had a couple critical times in the fall and winter,” said Miller. “Normally in March and April, high schools and college blood drives help pick the levels up and help sustain them for the summer. This year, it just didn’t happen. In the summer, it just compounds the problems.”
To donate blood, it is a simple process. If you are 17 years of age or older, weigh 105 pounds or more and are in generally good health, you can donate blood.
“I just want to ask the people of central Pennsylvania to take a few minutes and give a pint of blood,” said Miller. “There are bloodmobiles throughout the area and we need your help. You never know if the pint of blood you donate could save the life of someone close to you.”
The Red Cross is doing something new this summer and it is called the Grateful Life tour. At selected bloodmobiles, donors will receive a tye-dyed t-shirt with their donation. The closest Grateful Life Tour stop is August 6 at St. Matthew Church in Tyrone.
“If you want to find out where the nearest blood drive is you can call the toll-free number 1-800 54-BLOOD (25663),” said Miller. “You can also check out our website at www.redcrosslife.org.”