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Red Cross seeking donations

Minorities encouraged to give blood

POSTED: December 29, 2007 5:02 a.m.
ATLANTA — The American Red Cross and blood donors share a singular mission: to make sure that blood is available where it is needed, when it is needed.
This winter, volunteer blood donors can help make this mission possible by giving blood and platelets to help avoid the traditional holiday shortages that can leave the blood supply depleted.
During the winter holiday season, the blood supply traditionally suffers tremendous shortages for a number of reasons. With donors on vacation and preoccupied with other holiday-related activities, collections typically suffer between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. When this collection shortfall is coupled with an increased demand caused by more frequent holiday travel, a potentially dangerous situation can develop as demand for blood and blood products begins to outpace the supply.
For this reason, it is critical that all eligible volunteer donors give blood or platelets at least once during the winter months in an effort to make sure there is life-saving blood available for the more than 130 hospitals served by the American Red Cross in the Southern Region.
 “The holidays represent a time of giving, but for patients in hospitals throughout the region who are awaiting blood or blood products, the holidays can also be a time of stress,” said Mario Sedlock, director of donor services, American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. “This holiday season, take a few moments out to give the most precious gift one can give, the gift of life.”
  While the American Red Cross invites everyone to donate blood, African Americans and Latin Americans are highly encouraged to donate blood and blood components. A recent study completed by the Red Cross shows that in communities with higher populations of African Americans and Hispanic Americans there is a higher percentage of blood donors with Type O or Type B blood, the two most requested blood types by hospitals.  
“These blood types are normally high in demand, yet low in supply,” said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer, American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern Region. “By donating blood, African Americans and Latin Americans can help ensure blood is available for patients in area hospitals. They can play a vital role in making the mission of saving lives possible.”
 The Southern Blood Services Region must have 1,200 people give blood each weekday to meet hospital demands. You can help make our mission possible of saving lives possible by donating blood through your American Red Cross at least four times each year.  
Volunteer blood and platelet donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh no less than 110 pounds. It is safe to give blood every 56 days and platelets every two weeks. All volunteer blood donors must show a photo ID.
To find a convenient place to donate, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) or visit www.redcrossblood.org
 

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