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Red Cross hosts statewide blood drive to fulfill urgent need for donations

The American Red Cross hosted two blood donation events in Stanly County Friday. 

The Red Cross is conducting blood drives across the state because of a recent shortage in donations. The organization said in a press release that the week of July 4 was difficult because of a lack of participants at blood donation events. According to their statement, there were about 450 fewer blood drives organized that week than during a typical week because of activities and travel. As a result, this led to 17,000 fewer blood donations than usual.

“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president of Red Cross Blood Services. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors.”

The Red Cross was stationed at Tarheel Challenge Academy in New London Friday morning, then at VFW Post 2908 in the afternoon. 

Deloris Wilborn, a supervisor from the American Red Cross, said she feels people should give blood because it could save the life of someone who has been in a serious accident. She said when a person gets into an accident, one of the first things responders will do is check to see if they need blood. 

“Babies also need blood when they’re born,” Wilborn added. “We need a lot of different blood types to match them up.” 

Wilborn said anyone in good health over the age of 16 is eligible to give blood. According to her, there are times when certain types of blood are needed, but anyone who is willing to give should be able to. 

“Even if you’re 100 you can still donate as long as you’re healthy and well,” Wilborn said. 

Before donating blood, Wilborn said it is important to get a good night’s rest, eat a lot of vegetables, and drink plenty of fluids. 

“After giving blood, we give people plenty of food and still encourage them to drink lots of fluids and rest,” Wilborn said. “If they run around they could get lightheaded” 

Wilborn says blood is not wasted often, since it’s good to use for 42 days. However, with the recent shortage in donations, that may change. 

“When people don’t come to you and donate, then we don’t get enough to use,” Wilborn said. 

The American Red Cross will host blood donation events in N.C. through the remainder of the month. Anyone interested in donating is asked to make an appointment using the blood donor app, at RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling 1-800-733-2767.