Summer Draw: Blood drives need our help

Donating blood is a time-honored tradition that is nonetheless a new experience for many people who are eligible to give.

Summer is a high-need time for donations, making mid-July a good time to review the why and how of giving blood.

For veteran or new donors, the American Red Cross issued an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give because many fewer donations than expected were received in June and the first week of July.

June can be among the most challenging months of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they adjust to summer schedules. High school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of Red Cross donations during the school year. Donations from those who usually give at these drives drop by more than 80 percent when school is out for the summer.

Volunteer donations help many patients, including premature babies, cancer and surgery patients, and accident victims receive important blood transfusions. Since whole blood is separated and transfused as components, one blood donation can help save as many as three lives.

This month the American Red Cross is holding several blood drives in the Mid-Columbia area. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling one of the following numbers to sign up for a specific drive location:

Blood drives are planned in The Dalles, July 16 (Calvary Baptist Church, 12:30 to 6 p.m.) and July 17 in Hood River, at Best Western Hood River Inn, 1 to 6 p.m. To schedule an appointment contact Margo Parker at 541-387-3669 or online at www.redcrossblood.org.

Blood donors must be at least 16 years old in Oregon and Washington (16-year-olds require a signed Red Cross parental consent form). Blood donors must also weigh at least 110 pounds. Additional weight requirements apply for all high school students and donors 18 years old and younger.

Lastly, donors must be healthy, meaning you feel well and can perform normal activities. (If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, healthy also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.)

For more information, call 1-800-RED CROSS or go online to www.redcrossblood.org.

If you’re able, and feel up to it, there is no better time to roll up your sleeves for the American Red Cross.

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