Editorial: Time to roll up sleeves

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 6, 2009

The American Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood donations as supplies drop to critical levels across the Southeast.
It’s typical for supplies to drop as donations decrease in the summer months, Red Cross officials say, because of vacations, summer breaks at high schools and colleges (prime blood-drive sites) and other disruptions in routine. But the supply shortage is worse than usual this time, and an anemic economy may be to blame. Layoffs leave fewer people to participate in business-supported blood drives. Another possible factor: Rather than donate their blood, some cash-strapped individuals are turning to clinics that pay for blood.
Many potential donors are “dealing with business closings, layoffs and other issues relating to our current economy,” said Joyce Brendel, interim CEO of the American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “Unfortunately, the need for blood doesn’t go away.”
In the Carolinas region, the Red Cross needs to collect 1,600 units of blood each weekday to meet hospital needs. Type O negative is in especially short supply because it’s the type most frequently used in emergencies, when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. However, all blood types are needed.
Locally, the Red Cross’ Elizabeth Hanford Dole Chapter (704-633-3854, ext 1) holds blood drives at its headquarters and other locations across the community throughout the year. Donation opportunities in the coming days include:
– Aug. 9, 8:30 a.m.ń1 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 110 W. Church St., China Grove (704-857-5578);
– Aug. 10, 1-5:30 p.m. American Red Cross, 1930 Jake Alexander Blvd. (704-633-3854, ext 105);
– Aug. 13, 1-5:30 p.m., Salisbury Mall, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd., West (704-633-3854, ext 105);
– Aug. 15, 1:30-6 p.m., Wal-Mart, 323 S. Arlington St. (704-639-9718);
– Aug 16, 12:30-5 p.m. Calvary Baptist Tabernacle, 3760 Stokes Ferry Road (704-798-8064).
Volunteer donors are the only source for blood transfusions. It’s quick (takes about an hour), easy and painless. The only requirements are that donors weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health and at least 17 years old (or 16, when accompanied by a parent or guardian). Roll up your sleeve and help answer the call.