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Health Team

Blood donors often absent during summer months

Posted June 15, 2012 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2012 6:52 p.m. EDT

— Thanks to warm weather, longer days and any number of vacations, summer is the time of year when people usually spend the most time juggling their schedules.

For the Rex Hospital Blood Bank, that usually translates into fewer donations, and at times, blood shortages. 

Because Rex's bank also supplements blood banks at other major Triangle hospitals, shortages – regardless of when they happen – are never good. 

"Our schedules get a little crazy, and so we forget that friends and family in area hospitals are still out there, still needing us," said Emilie Sanders, who works at the Rex Healthcare Donor Center.

Next Friday, Rex Healthcare will hold its annual "Save Our Summer" blood drive at the Blue Ridge Road donor center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It's a time that Rex uses to reach out to past donors while also trying to bring in new ones. 

Leah Herreid, who started donating blood every 8 weeks several years ago, said the idea of helping someone in need is what keeps her coming back to Rex. 

"There was a blood drive at school, and I wanted to find out what it was all about," she said. "I've always been bitten by the 'help other people' bug."

The only people not eligible to donate are those who weigh less than 110 pounds, those under the age of 17, and people currently taking antibiotics for an infection. Watson said the 30-to-45-minute process is simple and does end up saving lives. 

"It's often a life or death situation and we want to be ready the moment that patients need us," she said. 

Donors can also donate blood platelets, which are used for burn patients and cancer patients. Platelets help the blood clot and fight infection.