Roll up your sleeves, Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We know it’s hot outside, and you need every iota of energy just to make it from the car to the sweet, air-conditioned rooms of your home or office.

But duty calls.

The American Red Cross is reporting abysmally low collection rates this month, with August drives meeting 50 percent of their goals. Since goals are based on expected needs, that low response rate starts to put any of us who might have a need for blood at risk.

• One pint of blood has the potential to save three lives.

• Blood platelets, which are critical for cancer patients, have a shelf life of only five days.

• 5 million patients in the United States need blood every year

• Less than 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood.

Because of the low turnouts this month, the Red Cross has raised the bar, and asked organizers to collect 130 percent of their previous goals at the remaining drives. Local residents can give blood tomorrow, Thurs., Aug. 18, at Southeast Alabama Gas, from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

The goal is now 23 pints. Roll up your sleeves, Andalusia, and pay it forward. The life you save could one day be your own.