10/18/04 — Red Cross sees blood shortage

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Red Cross sees blood shortage

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 18, 2004 2:00 PM

The American Red Cross is facing double trouble this time of year.

During the holiday season, donors are busy with other things and don't have as much time to give blood. But it's also the time when donations are needed the most, because people are traveling to see family, which leads to more accidents.

Don Best, blood services director for the Wayne County Chapter of the Red Cross, said blood supplies are down to no more than a two-day supply. He said the Red Cross likes to keep at least a five-day supply on hand. Types O positive and O negative are desperately needed.

Although September blood drives did well, those held this month have fallen short of their goal, said Best.

"We need people to come out to the blood drives," said Best.

Best noted that there is a big blood drive coming up Friday at Chevrolet Cadillac of Goldsboro. It has a goal of 200 units. "Hopefully we will get that many donors," he said.

Donors who give blood that day will receive a Texas Steakhouse coupon and a chance to win gift certificates to Wal-Mart. An official NASCAR jacket will also be given away to one lucky donor.

"I just hope people will see the need and come out and give blood," Best said.

Also at that blood drive, donors can give a double red cell donation. This is a process by which two units of blood are taken one at a time and only the red cells are kept. The plasma and platelets are put back into the donor. It takes about 30 minutes, said Best.

But there are certain requirements for a double red cell donation. A woman must be at least 17 years old and 5 feet 5 inches, weigh at least 175 pounds and have at least a 40 percent iron level. A man must be at least 17 and 5-feet-1, weigh at least 150 pounds and have at least a 40 percent iron level.

Other upcoming blood drives include:

*Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cherry Hospital.

*Thursday from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at the Red Cross chapter house, 600 N. George St., by appointment only by calling 735-7201.

*Oct. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Eastern Wayne High School.

*Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Goldsboro Milling Co.

Best noted that it's harder for the Red Cross to get donors to come out and give blood during the holiday season due to traveling, extra holiday activities and busier than normal schedules.

"Unfortunately, we need more blood during the holidays than at any other time during the year," he said.

Best is also putting out a call for volunteers to help at the blood drives.

People are needed to serve as greeters to meet donors when they come in and ask them to read the necessary materials. Volunteers are also needed for the canteen, serving a beverage and cookies to donors after they've given blood and observing them for about 15 minutes to make sure they are OK.

"I try to use four volunteers per blood drive," said Best. "That way I can split them up into about two and a half-hour shifts."

Donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.