Red Cross Winter Blood Shortage Prompts Urgent Call For Blood Donations

Donated blood for patients and hospitals

Donated blood for patients and hospitals

In New Jersey a year ago, the Red Cross responded to more than 820 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping almost 1,900 displaced families; collected more than 90,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 4,180 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained more than 113,200 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics.

Severe winter weather recently led to many cancellations for regular donations and blood drives. That, combined with seasonal illnesses and holiday schedules, has resulted in the local Red Cross receiving approximately 28,000 fewer donations than needed, according to a news release from the organization.

"Blood can't be stockpiled", DeFrancis said.

While approximately 38 percent of the USA population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent actually do.

Many different types of patients, ranging from burn victims, to those suffering from Leukemia, may all require blood to help save their lives. That means more than 5,500 blood and platelet donations have gone uncollected. Donors can save up to 15 minutes when they donate blood by using RapidPass. Since Karpen's blood type is O Negative, a rare and valuable blood type, he is frequently called in to donate.

Ceres Community Center Battle of the Badges, 2701 Fourth St., 11 a.m. -5 p.m. January 19.

January 24, from noon to 6 Gypsy Hill Park Gym, 600 Churchill Ave., Staunton. Donors should bring a photo identification, a Red Cross Donor Card or two other forms of identification. High school students and other donors ages 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Donors must be in good health with no cold or flu symptoms, must eat well prior to the donation and present a photo ID at the time of the donation.

The volunteers helping at the blood drive include the following: Esther Sparks, Jane Noard, Judy Szymovicz, Dawn Haggard, Gina Martin, Lee Ann Hannigan, Kathleen Kocielski, Betty Lou Wisen, Shelly Sines and Mary Kibilka.

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