Area blood drives scheduled to help Red Cross replenish critically low blood supply

Efforts to replenish critically low blood supplies across the 100-county Greater Alleghenies Region of American Red Cross Blood Services continue after last week’s winter storm set back.
The winter weather has prompted American Red Cross officials to continue to urge area residents to donate blood at the organization’s upcoming blood drives.
Two blood drives are scheduled in the area tomorrow.
Those wishing to donate can visit the Hookies Fire Hall, 1216 Blair Ave. between noon and 6 p.m.
In Port Matilda, individuals can donate at Halfmoon Christian Fellowship, 1776 Halfmoon Valley Rd. from 1 to 7 p.m.
Another blood drive is scheduled in Tyrone on Friday, March 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tyrone Hospital.
For those unable to make the scheduled blood drives, individuals are always able to visit the Red Cross Blood Donor Center, located at 317 East Pleasant Valley Blvd., Altoona, each Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m. Individuals can also schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-Give-Life (1-800-448-3543).
Giving blood takes very little time. Although 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.
According to Jim Starr, regional CEO, as of Monday, the region had just a one-day supply of type O negative. Inventories of O positive, B positive, A negative and B negative blood types are below a two-day supply. A week’s supply of all blood types is desired.
“March is National Red Cross Month and we’re looking for many ‘hometown heroes’ to come forward and help those in need by donating blood,” said Starr.
Last month, the region experienced weather-related cancellations representing nearly two collection days, or nearly 2,000 blood donations.
The blood region, which serves nearly 100 hospitals, has a collection goal of 1,000 unites per weekday and a couple hundred each weekend.
“When a patient needs transfusions, the blood products – red blood cells, platelets and plasma – must be readily available. Every two seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion, and it’s too late to recruit donors when the need arises,” Starr said.
He explained that the weather has also strained the region’s supply of platelets, a product often needed by patients with cancer, leukemia and other serious illnesses.
“We’re also calling upon those who give platelets at our donor centers in Altoona, Beaver, Greensburg, Johnstown and State College to make an appointment to donate and make every effort to keep appointments already scheduled,” he noted.