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Regional Blood Need At ‘Emergency Level’

Every minute of every day, the American Red Cross estimates, someone needs blood.

“Through accidents or illness, individuals find themselves in need of blood to survive. Since brilliant minds haven’t quite figured out how to manufacture human blood, that lifesaving ingredient can only come from a volunteer donor,” said Halifax-Charlotte County Red Cross Chapter Manager Ginger Weaver. “We know this, but not all of us donate.”

In fact, on its Web site, the Red Cross states that only three out of every 100 people in America donate blood. Most people can donate.

While donating red blood cells has certain eligibility requirements, Weaver said whole blood donors must simply be healthy, be at least 17 years old in most states — or as in Virginia — 16 with a parent’s consent and weigh at least 110 pounds.

As a part of being prepared, the Red Cross urges volunteers to donate and set up regular blood drives in the attempt to deal with the ebb and flow of supplies.

When disaster strikes, like after 9-11 or a tornado outbreak, often first-time volunteers will walk through the door. Repeat donors hardly need a natural disaster. They come in like clockwork, after the required 56-day waiting period, she added.

The Halifax-Charlotte County chapter manager continued, “Today, we are anxiously waiting for donors to walk through the doors.  Blood services staff, our chapter, the sponsors and volunteers are prepared to offer blood donors a good donation experience that warms their hearts because they know their gift is helping others to survive. 

“No one should have to worry that a safe supply of their blood type is there when they need it.  And I have read somewhere, that if we live to be age 75, we will most likely use at least one blood product at some point in our lives.  That  makes you think about taking the opportunity to donate now,” Weaver said.
Appalachian Blood Services, which serves area hospitals, is experiencing an “emergency need level”  for blood types 0 negative and B negative, according to Weaver. 

“This emergency need level, no doubt has been brought on in no small part by the holidays and the massive winter weather we experienced during December and here in early January,” the Red Cross chapter manager said.

Local opportunities to donate for this “emergency need” will take place today, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 8, Jeffress Blvd. in South Boston, and on Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Mary Bethune Complex Gym in Halifax.

Then on Saturday, Jan. 16, givers will have another opportunity to donate blood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Winn’s Creek Baptist Church in Halifax.

“You may have donated to the American Red Cross in the past. Consider renewing that relationship. Your pint will save at least one life and many times – three lives,” she added.