Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

As area temperatures climb, American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region officials are greatly concerned about the weather’s impact on donor turnout and already low blood supplies.
Jim Starr, CEO, reiterated the 100-county region’s plea for increased donor turnout – particularly among the estimated 56 percent of the population with Type O and B blood – to boost critically low blood supplies in the region and throughout the 35-region Red Cross system. He urged the public to donate blood at an air-conditioned blood drive site near them.
“Donation appointments may be scheduled at many of these sites; appointments may be made via our region’s website,,” Starr commented. “When donors schedule appointments we can better predict donor turnout and adjust blood drive staffing.”
Low blood collections over the recent Fourth of July period and the cancellation of blood drives in other Red Cross blood regions due to recent flooding have led to decreased supplies of blood products available for patient care.
“We have less than a day’s supply of Types O negative, A negative and B negative blood, and less than a two day’s supply of Type O and B positive,” Starr said.
He emphasized, “About 50 percent of all blood ordered by and supplied to hospitals for patients is Type O blood, yet this type is found in only 45 percent of the population. Type O negative red blood cells, the ‘universal’ type, can be transfused to anyone with any blood type. Type O positive blood can be transfused to anyone with a positive blood type – or about 85 percent of the population.”
Starr noted that although as many as 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate, only five percent of them donate. Individuals age 17 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood every 56 days. For specific eligibility questions, the Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-542-5663.
He added that it will take several weeks of strong blood collections to rebuild inventories to safe levels, and noted that the region’s “Keep Your Motor Runnin’” summer campaign runs through September 30.
“Those who present to donate blood at a local Red Cross site can enter the drawing for a 2006 Harley Davidson Fat Boy, and will get a black biker T-shirt (bloodmobiles) or three-piece barbecue set (donor centers), while supplies last.”
Individuals should bring their Red Cross donor cards or other forms of identification to the donor site. Additional blood drive opportunities are listed at or call 1-800-GIVE LIFE.
Locally, a blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, July 19 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Bellwood Senior Center.

By Rick