09/20/05 — Red Cross expects blood supply crisis

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Red Cross expects blood supply crisis

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 20, 2005 1:49 PM

Despite an adequate supply of blood at present, Red Cross officials say they expect supplies to dwindle as the holiday season approaches. An increase in travel, and therefore accidents, pushes the demand for blood higher, just as it does during the summer, they say.

"For the first time since summer began, we are not in emergency status with the blood supply," said Samia Garner, blood services director for the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross. "But we've got the holidays coming up and we start falling into that same hole and are always trying to crawl our way out because we're behind on donations."

The effects of Hurricane Katrina has not greatly increased the demand for blood, said Garner, but national Red Cross officials have asked local chapters to begin campaigns to be prepared in any extent.

"What our directive seems to have been is that they want us to be in good shape so that if it's needed in that area, we're ready," said Garner. "So should we have to help out, we'll be able to step up."

To help shore up local blood supplies, the Blue Knights, an organization of active and retired law enforcement officers who enjoy riding motorcycles, held a blood drive Monday at the Red Cross offices on George Street. Thirty-five units of blood were collected, said Garner, 10 more than the goal.

"Coming off of summer was a good time for this blood drive," she said. "Every summer, the blood supply dwindles due to people going on vacation and just not having the time to donate. Plus with more people on the roads for vacation, there are typically more accidents, which increases the need for blood during that time."

Glenn Barnes, a Goldsboro Police Department captain and president of the local Blue Knights chapter, has been a "hero" for the Red Cross for the last couple of years. A "hero" is someone who agrees to raise at least $1,000 for the Red Cross annually.

In the past, the chapter has held rides to raise money for the Red Cross. This time they answered the call for blood.

"We've pretty much adopted the Red Cross as our charity," said Barnes. "So we help out all we can."

Not only did club members donate blood, they also contacted friends who came out to help. Barnes said the knights will likely start holding a similar drive each year.

"The Blue Knights have been big supporters in the past," said Garner. "What we're hoping down the road is for this to become even larger, with the Blue Knights pulling in even more motorcycle enthusiasts."

One donor who came out to Monday's blood drive was 48-year-old Evelyn White, an employee at the Wayne Opportunity Center.

She said she's felt guilty about not donating blood for a while. "So I thought it's time to get back on track and start donating on a regular basis," she said.

White said giving blood is a good thing for everyone to do. "It's just a part of life. You got to give. People need it to survive. Everybody else needs to come out and give, too."

Red Cross chapter director Chuck Waller praised the motorcycle group for their dedication.

"They helped us raise money during our Heroes Campaign and here they are again helping raise awareness on the blood need and get folks in the door to donate blood."

Mrs. Garner emphasized that a single donation of blood goes a long way.

"A lot of people don't realize that each unit of blood donated can be used to help save up to three lives," she said. "And at the end of the day, that's a pretty profound thing to have accomplished."

Upcoming blood drives include:

*Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at St. Luke Church.

*Sept. 29 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Goldsboro High School.

*Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Social Security office.

*Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Berkeley Mall.

*Oct. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Charles B. Aycock High School.

*Oct. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lowe's.

*Oct. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Eastern Wayne High School and from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Red Cross chapter house at 600 N. George St.