Year's first blood drive will be Jan. 23

The first blood donation opportunity of the new year in Hood River County will be Jan. 23. The American Red Cross holds a donation drive from 1 to 6 p.m. at Nazarene Church, 2168 Belmont Dr.

Healthy adults are encouraged to make an appointment by calling Margo Parker at 387-3669. Eligible donors must be 17 or older, weigh at least 105 pounds, and be in good general health.

Due to the shortage of lifesaving O negative and A negative blood, the American Red Cross issued a Red Alert starting Jan. 9.

Officials at the Pacific Northwest Regional Blood Services (PNWRBS) headquarters in Portland are asking citizens with these blood types to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE as soon as possible to set up a donation appointment. The calls will automatically be picked up in the area where the call is made so that potential donors are referred to the Red Cross donation site nearest them.

The Red Cross' Pacific Northwest Regional Blood Services provides blood to more than 80 hospitals in Oregon, Washington and Southeast Alaska. On Jan. 8, shelves were stocked with enough blood to cover routine uses for the next three days.

"The holidays took a toll on our collection efforts," said Joan Manning, executive director for the Red Cross Pacific Northwest Regional Blood Services.

Under Red Alert, the Red Cross must fill blood orders at a reduced rate as low as 50 per cent, requiring physicians to prioritize the need for blood transfusions for their patients.

One donation can help a patient with acute blood loss resulting from trauma or surgery (red blood cells), an individual with leukemia (platelets) and someone who has had a liver transplant (plasma). Patients who benefit most from transfusions of red blood cells include those with chronic anemia resulting from disorders such as kidney failure, malignancies or gastrointestinal bleeding and those with acute blood loss resulting from trauma or surgery.

Citizens who are in good health, are 17 years old or older and weigh at least 105 pounds may donate blood every 56 days.

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