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Red Cross calls for donors amid emergency blood shortage

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An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types — especially type O — to give now and help save lives.

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross blood donor app, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Area blood donation opportunities include:

Wilson

July 11 — 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Wilson Community College, 902 Herring Ave.

July 11 — Noon to 6 p.m., Wilson Medical Center, 1705 S. Tarboro St.

July 16 — 2:30-7 p.m., Brewmasters, 2117 Forest Hills Road W.

July 18 — 2-7 p.m., First Christian Church, 207 Tarboro St. NE

July 25 — 2-7 p.m., Bill Ellis Convention Center, 3007 Downing St. SW

Bailey

July 25 — 3-7 p.m., Bailey Baptist Church, 6646 Deans St.

Middlesex

July 17 — 3-7 p.m., Stony Hill Free Will Baptist Church, 9649 Stony Hill Church Rd

Nashville

July 23 — 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Nash Correctional Institution, 2869 U.S. 64 Alternate

July 26 — 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Birchwood Country Club, 901 E. Birchwood Drive

July 30 — 1-5 p.m., State Employees’ Credit Union, 1201 Eastern Ave.

Red Oak

July 11 — 2-7 p.m., Red Oak Volunteer Fire Department, 7951 Red Oak Blvd.

Spring Hope

July 26 — 3-7 p.m., Spring Hope Volunteer Fire Department, 415 W. Nash St.

Whitakers

July 11 — 12:30-5 p.m., Whitakers Volunteer Fire Department, 104 SW Railroad St.

Tarboro

July 12 — 12:30-4:30 p.m., Braswell Center Tarboro, 1500 Western Blvd.

July 23 — 3-7 p.m., First Baptist Church, 605 Main St.

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