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Red Cross puts out plea for blood donations
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ATLANTA — For most people, the summer means weeks of fun and travel. For the American Red Cross and thousands of hospital patients, however, this is a time of high anxiety. The summer traditionally means decreased blood donations, which result in a shortage of the blood types hospitals urgently need to treat trauma victims and other patients.
The Red Cross urges blood donors to make plans to donate at least once this summer to help prevent such shortages.
"Your blood is needed more than you think," said Randy Edwards, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. "Only about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood and only a fraction of those actually donate. When you make the decision to donate blood this summer, it could be the difference between life and death for area patients."
The blood supply typically experiences a drop in the summer. This drop occurs when schools and colleges close, people take vacations and extended holidays, and businesses hold smaller blood drives due to modified summer operations.  
Because blood can be separated into three components - blood, platelets and plasma - one donation can benefit up to three individuals. It takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals, so it is important that a donation be made ahead of an emergency.
The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region, which supplies blood to more than 130 hospitals, needs 1,200 blood donors each weekday in order to meet the blood needs of area patients.
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh no less than 110 pounds. Please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit to make an appointment to donate blood.

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