The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

August 2, 2013

Red Cross faces urgent need for platelet donors

Blood drive Saturday at Northern Boulevard Baptist Church

BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO — Officials of the American Red Cross say there remains an urgent need for platelet donors as well as donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood.

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give double red cells where available. Type O negative blood is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative blood can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

Tarboro residents will have the opportunity to donate from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at Northern Boulevard Baptist Church, 502 East Northern Blvd. Then, next Thursday, Scotland Neck area residents will have the opportunity to donate from 3-7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1015 Church St.

Officials said at present, blood products are being distributed to area hospitals almost as quickly as donations are coming in.

The Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donations on July 9 after seeing about 50,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than expected in June. Donations have increased by about 15 percent since the emergency call was issued, but the end of July marks only the halfway point to the challenging summer months.

"We are grateful to the donors who have rolled up a sleeve to give blood or platelets to the Red Cross in the last couple of weeks, but our work is not over," said Page Gambill, Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region. "The need for blood is constant. As July comes to a close and August begins, we ask eligible donors to please give blood or platelets as soon as possible.

"The summer is historically one of the most difficult times of year for blood and platelet donations," Gambill said. "Many donors are still enjoying summer activities, but patients are unable to take a vacation from needing lifesaving transfusions."

Each day, the Red Cross Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region needs approximately 500-600 donors to step forward and give blood. Blood and platelets can only come from generous volunteer donors.

To donate blood, call (800) 733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.