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Red Cross Urges Blood Donations to Boost Supplies

by on August 11, 2012 4:05 PM

Scheduling a late summer getaway? Preparing to purchase back-to-school clothing and supplies? Thinking about buying a new HD plasma screen TV to watch favorite college or pro football teams?

The American Red Cross, Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region will help make such plans a reality for ten lucky blood and platelet donors who help ease the organization’s current serious blood shortage during August.

John Hagins, CEO, Greater Alleghenies Region, explained that five blood and five platelet donors who present to donate during August will automatically be entered in drawings for a $500 super certificate to redeem for one or more gift cards or certificates totaling $500.

“Patients’ lives depend on sustained strong donor turnout throughout August,” Hagins commented. “Thousands of blood donations are needed each and every day to help treat accident victims, cancer patients, children with blood disorders and others. Unfortunately, blood donations through the Red Cross nationally are at the lowest they have been in 15 years. There is an emergency need for blood donors this summer. These drawings are a way to thank those who take time to donate blood.”

He said that donors with all blood types are needed each day, adding that currently hospitals are experiencing a high demand for O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood types. Donors who have these blood types are urged to regularly donate blood throughout the year to maintain inventory levels.

Two drawings — one for a platelet donor and one for a blood or double red cell donor — will be held following these time periods: Aug. 5–11, Aug. 12–18, Aug. 19–25 and Aug. 26–31. Winners will be notified within a week following the end of each entry period.

In addition, area Red Cross blood and platelet donors can earn double Donor Rewards points throughout August. During 2012, Red Cross donors earn points with each blood and platelet donation. Rewards points can be redeemed each quarter, or saved and redeemed at the end of the year. Donors are automatically entered in the Rewards Club when they make a blood, double red cell or platelet donation.

“Please schedule a donation appointment today to help us maintain a safe and adequate blood supply for patients in need,” Hagins added.  “There’s still time to do something extraordinary this summer and donate blood.”

The complete donation process only takes about an hour and 15 minutes, with the actual donation only lasting 10 to 12 minutes.

Most people can safely donate blood every 56 days. Individuals who are healthy, at least 17 years old or older (or 16 with a signed parental consent form), and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

Those with specific eligibility questions should call the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or visit to learn more about giving blood or platelets or to schedule an appointment to donate. Blood donation appointments are encouraged; walk-in donors are welcome, but may have a small wait. Donors who elect to walk-in may want to donate after the first hour of the blood drive, when wait times are shorter.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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