08/09/09 — Shortage of blood reported

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Shortage of blood reported

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 9, 2009 2:00 AM

The American Red Cross has issued an urgent appeal for donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood.

These types are in critical status, which means there is about a three-day supply on the shelves, a little more than 5,000 units of blood.

"We like to have a five-day supply on hand," said Kimberly Berrier, senior donor recruitment representative with the Wilmington Service Center.

The supply usually drops a little during the summer months.

"In the summer, blood shortages often occur because individual donations decrease along with the number of organizations that are able to sponsor blood drives," Ms. Berrier said. "The absence of high school and college blood drives also contributes to this annual drop in donations because those drives account for about 20 percent of all donations."

Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross director Chuck Waller said that collecting enough blood to meet hospitals' needs during the summer is always a challenge. "This is especially true this year as many donors are also dealing with business closings, lay-offs and other issues related to our current economy. Unfortunately, the needs for blood doesn't go away."

"Without an immediate response from generous people in this community, our ability to provide the needed blood will be limited," he said.

Ms. Berrier said blood donations have dropped all over the southeast region. Not as many blood drives were scheduled for last month as were last July.

However, summer travel and accidents increase the need for blood from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Ms. Berrier said the Red Cross needs to collect about 1,600 units of blood a day to meet the demand of the 103 hospitals served in North Carolina.

Donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. However, something new the Red Cross is doing is accepting 16-year-old donors. But they must have signed parental consent.

Anyone wanting to give blood at a local drive may go online at membersforlife.org/cvsr to make an appointment. You can search blood drives by county or by using a sponsor code number for a particular blood drive.

"Hopefully that will make it not only easy for people to find a drive, but to also find out far in advance," Ms. Berrier said.

One of the two biggest blood drives coming up this month are the one at Chevrolet Cadillac of Goldsboro Friday and the local Red Cross chapter Tuesday.

"Those bloodmobiles are pretty busy drives," Ms. Berrier said.

The bloodmobile schedule for August is:

Thursday: Cooper Bussmann from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday: Chevrolet Cadillac of Goldsboro from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Red Cross chapter, 600 N. George St., from 1:30 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 13: Cherry Hospital from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Aug. 14: Wayne Memorial Hospital from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Aug. 19: Goldsboro Milling Co. from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Aug. 20: Butterball of Mount Olive from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Aug. 25: Mt. Olive Pickle Co. from 1:30 to 6 p.m.

Aug. 26: Strickland Insurance Co. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Aug. 27: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 28: Lowe's from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Donors who give blood during August and September will be eligible for a $1,000 gas card. And from Sept. 3 through 15, all donors will receive an American Red Cross seat cushion.

For more information about giving blood or any of the blood drives, call the local Red Cross chapter at 735-7201.