As area residents enjoy summertime fun, American Red Cross officials know all too well the drag that outdoor activities and vacations can have on area blood supply reserves although patient need continues 365 days a year.
“We have our ‘clutch’ blood donors and sponsors, those who we regularly rely on to give of themselves to help others in need,” said Jim Starr, CEO, Greater Alleghenies Region, Red Cross Blood Services, “but there aren’t enough of them to make up for the collections deficit we face each summer.”
Starr explained that the 100-county region collects approximately 20 percent of its annual collections at high schools, colleges and universities – which are closed or have reduced numbers of faculty, staff and students during the summer – which increases the challenge.
That’s why the Greater Alleghenies Region urges area residents to “Join the Race to Save Lives” by donating blood.
To donate blood, individuals:
• must be at least 17-years-old
• weigh at least 110 pounds
• be in generally good health
Starr pointed out that up to 60 percent of the population can donate blood, but only five percent do each year.
“Many individuals taking medication for chronic conditions may continue to donate blood. Those with specific eligibility questions should call 1-800-542-5663 and ask to speak to someone in Nursing Collections.
“Donation appointments may be scheduled at many Red Cross blood drives,” he added. “To schedule your blood donation appointment where available, or to find a blood drive near you, visit www.redcrosslife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.”
Upcoming area blood drives include:
• Friday, July 13 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Tyrone Hospital;
• Thursday, July 19 from noon to 5:30 p.m. at Epworth Manor and
• Tuesday, July 24 from 1 to 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Tyrone.
The Greater Alleghenies Region directly serves hospitals, patients and donors in a 100-county area in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, with more than five-dozen blood products and related services, and also supports blood needs experienced by patients elsewhere in hospitals served through Red Cross Blood Services.