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Increased donor turnout sought to jumpstart recent low blood collections

Due to low donor turnout over the crucial holiday period, local American Red Cross Blood Services officials are urging area residents to donate blood to replenish low blood supplies.
“Overall, regional blood supplies stand at just over a two day’s supply instead of our desired week’s supply. We have less than a day’s reserve of O negative and A negative blood; critically low supplies of type O negative could jeopardize the care of trauma and other emergency patients unless we see increased donor turnout,” said Jim Starr, CEO, Greater Alleghenies Region.
He added that the number of elective and non-emergency surgeries typically increase after the holidays, adding to the urgency to rebuild low blood supplies.
Area residents may donate blood on Friday, January 19 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Tyrone Elks Lodge.
Individuals may also visit the Altoona Donation Center to give blood. The center is open on Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. and is located on Kettle Road, two blocks off E. Pleasant Valley Blvd.
Also, individuals are able to schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-Give-Life (1-800-448-3543).
Starr attributed low donor turnout to holiday activities and increased travel resulting from mild weather.
January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, so there’s no better time to resolve to help patients in need by donating blood.
“Someone’s waiting for the gift of blood that can come only from people like you and me. Every two seconds, someone in our country needs a blood transfusion – 365 days a year,” he said. “When someone needs a blood transfusion, it’s too late to recruit and collect donations. Sufficient supplies of red blood cells, platelets and plasma must be readily available.
Local residents and patients are among those served through American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region. This region directly serves hospitals, patients and donors in a 100-county area in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, and also supports blood needs experienced by patients elsewhere in hospitals served through Red Cross Blood Services.
The Greater Alleghenies Region of the American Red Cross Blood Services strongly urges anyone who is eligible to give blood to call as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to donate or visit www.redcrosslife.org or www.givelife.org for a schedule of upcoming area blood drives.
Although giving blood takes very little time and about 60 percent of the people in America are eligible to donate blood, only five percent do.
Anyone at least 17-years-of-age, weighing 110 pounds or more and feeling in good health may be eligible to donate blood.
Individuals with donor eligibility questions should call the nursing collections office at 1-800-542-5663.