American Red Cross in urgent need of blood donors

By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: March 15, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.

VIRGINIA The American Red Cross has announced a severe shortage of type O blood, and an urgent shortage of all other blood types across Virginia and our nation. 

The Red Cross is urging type O donors, as well as eligible donors of all other blood types to consider donating at this time to help replenish the critical shortage. All blood types are low and there is a tremendous need to ensure life-saving patient care is not compromised for the remainder of this winter. 

“In the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, we need to engage 350 donors each day just to keep up with the demand from the hospitals that we serve,” said Bernadette Jay, External Communications Manager, Biomedical Field Marketing and Communications, American Red Cross Blood Services.

Type O blood is the most in-demand blood type and the first to run out during a shortage. The reason for this is that Type O is considered the universal blood type, and is used in emergency situations before a patient’s exact type has been assessed. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types, and blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in.

“We recognize there’s a fear of needles for some first-time donors,” said Jay. “Please know that the pinch of the needle and a few moments of discomfort can’t compare to knowing that you helped a patient in critical need celebrate another day with their family and friends. In all honesty, I must say donating blood doesn’t hurt.”

Snowstorms and frigid weather in parts of the country have prolonged the shortfall in donations. More than 20,000 blood and platelet donations have gone uncollected in just four-weeks, due to blood drive cancellations. Winter travel advisories have also contributed to the problem, and have forced regular and additional donors to cancel or delay their planned donations. 

You may donate at any blood drive in your area, or you may travel to other areas to donate if you wish. If you would like information on specific blood drives, contact the American Red Cross at (804) 780-2258. There will definitely be a blood drive taking place somewhere on your way to-or-from work, or while you are out shopping or running errands. 

On March 25, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., a blood drive will be held at the Prince George Masonic Lodge #115, 5709 Ruffin Mill Road.

In Dillwyn, a blood drive will be held on March 20, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Heritage Hall Nursing Home, 9 Brickyard Drive. 

In Sutherland, in Dinwiddie County, a blood drive will be conducted on March 12, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., by the Sutherland Ruritan Club at Ocran United Methodist Church, 20221 Cox Road.

There will be a blood drive in North Dinwiddie on March 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Eastside Community Enhancement Center, in Loving Memory of Trooper Walker, 7301B Boydton Plank Road. 

There will be a blood drive in Crewe on March 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., held at the Crewe Library, 414 Tyler Street. A blood drive will be conducted in Petersburg on March 22, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Southside Regional Medical Center, 200 Medical Park Boulevard. Another drive will be held in Petersburg on March 31, at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1021 Halifax Street.

There will be a blood drive in Amelia on March 15, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Amelia County High School, 8500 Otterburn Road. A blood drive will be held in Brunswick County, Lawrenceville, on March 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Brunswick County High School, Tech Center, 2171 Lawrenceville Plank Road.

There will also be numerous, almost daily, blood drive opportunities, too numerous to list individually in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Glen Allen, Chester, Midlothian, Mechanicsville, and Ashland. 

Please call the American Red Cross at (804) 780-2258 for specific information. Other blood drives will be conducted, though less frequently, in Buckingham County, Caroline County, Bowling Green, Milford, Ruther Glen, Charles City, Essex, Tappahannock, Goochland, Maidens, Manakin Sabot, Greensville, Emporia, Hanover, King William, West Point, Lancaster, Kilmarnock, Middlesex, Deltaville, Saluda, Orange, Locust Grove, Prince Edward, Farmville, and Warsaw.

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“It’s so important for eligible donors to roll up their sleeves and help a hospital patient in critical need,” said Jay. “You can hold the power to save lives in the palm of your hand with the FREE Red Cross Blood Donor App. Text “BLOODAPP” to 90999, or download it from the App Store, or the Google Play store today.”   

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