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Red Cross encourages people to donate blood, convalescent plasma

Even though the coronavirus pandemic dominates the news cycle and has contributed to an influx of patients at hospitals around the country, accidents still happen, with people getting injured and in serious need of blood transfusions.

“Emergencies don’t stop even for a pandemic,” says Sheila Crunkleton, executive director for the Southern Piedmont Chapter of the American Red Cross, which includes Stanly County, noting that every two seconds someone is in need of blood.

There’s usually a decrease in people donating blood during the holidays with people traveling and being off from work. The pandemic has made it even harder to collect blood, with many groups canceling planned blood drives. The Albemarle Red Cross office, 243 W. Main St., has been consistently hosting blood drives, Crunkleton said.

The Red Cross also is in need of convalescent plasma, which is plasma collected from people who have recovered from a disease, whose blood is presumed to have antibodies for that disease. Anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 can donate their plasma and possibly help up to four coronavirus patients in need.

“The need for convalescent plasma has definitely increased,” Crunkleton said, noting that the plasma is used to treat people recovering from COVID-19.

Crunkleton said the organization is also doing antibody testing on blood donors to see if they would be good candidates to donate plasma.

If anyone wants to donate either blood or plasma, they can visit redcrossblood.org and enter their zip code to learn about upcoming drives in the area. Crunkleton asks that people make appointments in advance, so “that we can make sure that we can socially distance and make sure that we have the staff that’s needed for drives.”

If people are interested in hosting their own blood drives, they can contact the Albemarle Red Cross office at 704-982-0070.

“It’s the easiest thing to do to help somebody,” Crunkleton said about taking time to donate.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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