Local News

Triangle Red Cross makes urgent call for blood donations

Posted July 10, 2008 9:51 a.m. EDT

 Ashley Bowman, a Forsyth county resident is looking for a new kidney after numerous life setbacks. Bowman is on the transplant list and in full-time dialysis. Despite what she's facing, she was determined to fulfill her dream.

— Blood inventory levels have fallen so low that the Triangle Chapter of the American Red Cross is unable to meet the demand of local hospitals, the chapter announced Thursday.

"While there is a constant need for all blood types, donors with type O positive, O negative, A positive and A negative are asked to take an hour of time to help save a life by donating as soon as possible at a drive location near them,” according to the group’s press release.

It is especially crucial for donors with type O blood to donate within the next few days. Type O is the most common blood type and is used extensively by hospitals.

Type O blood donors are considered universal red cell donors because their blood can be given to most other blood types in emergencies when there is no time to type a patient’s blood.

Hospitals commonly experience an increase in traumas during the summer, making the need for type O blood even greater.

The Red Cross has four donation centers in the Triangle area available to the public to schedule a donation appointment.

Those interested in donating should call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) to find out the locations and hours of operation of the center closest to them. You may also go to www.givelife.org.

“The need for blood never takes a vacation,” said Robert Fechner, chief executive officer of American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “Blood donations typically decline during the summer months, but hundreds of blood transfusion are given to treat area hospital patients every day. Unless donors respond immediately, hospitals may need to postpone elective or non-emergency surgeries.”

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

The American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region needs approximately 1,600 people to donate blood and platelets each weekday to meet the needs of hospital patients.

Most people who are age 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to give blood every 56 days.