Urgent need for blood donors; opportunities to give ahead
January is National Blood Donor Month and the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types. They want to encourage donors to make an appointment to give now and help address a winter blood donation shortage.
“Severe winter weather has had a tremendous impact on blood donations already this year, with more than 150 blood drives forced to cancel causing over 5,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected,” explained Brian Adams, with the American Red Cross Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region. “This is in addition to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.”
Marietta resident Steve Wilden, 49, tries to donate as often as he is permitted, usually every eight weeks.
“I’ve been donating probably since I was 17 years old. My father donated for years and I just picked up the habit,” he said.
Wilden donated most recently at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Monday and keeps track of local blood drives through the Red Cross website.
Eligible donors can find a blood donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).
While Wilden hasn’t
personally experienced a situation where he was in need of blood, he said he realizes the importance of what he is doing.
“There are very few things you can do in life where you feel like you’re making a difference. (Donating blood) is one of those things,” he said.
There is perhaps no one who understands that need better than an ICU nurse.
Madeline Farrar, 22, of Marietta, works as a nurse locally and has seen first-hand how much blood is needed for various situations.
“Just today, on one floor, there were five patients who needed at least one unit of blood,” she said.
Farrar said she signed up for email alerts to find out when a blood drive is scheduled near her.
“I give blood pretty often but probably not as much as I should,” she said.
The Red Cross supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease, who all may require blood to save their lives. The Red Cross is tasked with collecting more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.
“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” Adams said. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”
For those who are squeamish or otherwise adverse to giving blood, Farrar asks them to consider this:
“You have to think about the people that are needing the blood,” she said. “The worst part is the little stick you get and that is nothing compared to what people needing the blood are going through.”
Where to donate
¯ Feb. 1
Center for Business and Technology
Washington State Community College
710 Colegate Drive
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
¯ Feb. 13
Dyson Baudo Recreation Center
215 Fifth St.
Noon to 5 p.m.
¯ Feb. 16
Mid Ohio Valley Medical Group
800 Grand Central Mall, Vienna
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
¯ Feb. 20
Belpre Medical Campus-Marietta Memorial Hospital
807 Farson St., Belpre
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
¯ Feb. 28
WVU-P Main Building
300 Campus Drive, Parkersburg
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
¯ March 7
Marietta High School Gym Building
208 Davis Ave.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
¯ March 12
223 Lock St., Lowell
1 to 6:30 p.m.
What is needed
¯ Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.
¯ Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.
¯ Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular a blood donation.
How to help
¯ Eligible donors can find a blood donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.