By Sally Voth - firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Red Cross is appealing for blood and platelet donors as its blood supply reaches emergency levels.
This month, 50,000 fewer pints of blood than anticipated was collected, according to a news release from Cheryl Gergely, communications manager for the American Red Cross's Greater Alleghenies Region. It has half as much "readily available blood products" than it had at the same time in 2011, the release states.
There will be drives in the local area this week and next.
And, while all types of blood are needed, there is crucial demand for 0 negative, B negative and A negative, according to the release, which attributes dropping donation figures to this year's early warm temperatures. And, Independence Day falling on a Wednesday has also put a crimp in blood drives.
"Unfortunately, patients don't get a holiday from needing blood products," the release states. "Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are needed for many different kinds of patients. They include accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies - when there are complications during childbirth - and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease."
The Greater Alleghenies Region needs to collect about 900 blood and platelet donations every weekday, region CEO John A. Hagins states in the release.
"There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren't readily available, or in a worst case scenario, have to forgo a procedure such as a lifesaving organ transplant because of a shortage of blood." Hagins states. "Our goal is to ensure that doesn't happen."
American Legion Post 199, 411 S. Muhlenberg St., Woodstock, will host a blood drive - including double red cell donation -- from 12 to 6 p.m. Thursday. The Red Cross, at 561 Fortress Drive, Winchester, will also have a drive at the same time Thursday, according to the news release.
On Friday, the Red Cross in Winchester will have a drive -- including double red cell donation -- from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Staples in Winchester will have a drive 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, according to the release.
Next Tuesday, there will be two locations for double red cell donation in Winchester: noon to 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Winchester, 205 W. Picadilly St., and 1 to 7 p.m. at the Red Cross office.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 800-RED CROSS, or visit www.redcrossblood.org.