Red Cross: Blood needed ASAP

Published 12:03 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

Red Cross officials said Wednesday donated blood inventories for the region are at emergency levels; however, there are several upco-ming drives where area residents can help bring those levels up.

Me-gan Jeff-erson with the Red Cross said patients need a commitment to ensure the success of upcoming drives.

“Unlike ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire,’ this blood is the only lifeline a patient receives.,” Jefferson said. “Survival solely depends on donors being on the other end. We must collect as much blood as possible because more than ever patients are counting on every single unit we have scheduled.”

She said the inventory for the region and an adequate blood supply for Southeast Alabama are at a state of emergency.

“July and August Southeast collections were both short by a total of 131 pints,” she said. “That’s a possible 393 lives. Out of 282 units scheduled through last week for September, only 221 units were collected, which equates to 78 percent.

“Patients can’t afford for donors or you that provide information to them to lose interest in the mission of saving lives especially since imports into our region are no longer available,” she said. “ We’re projected to lack 1,500 to 2,000 units this month, meaning surgeries may cancel and cancer and sickle cell patients who get regular transfusions may not receive at normal frequency. A single unexpected car accident victim can use as many as 100 pints of blood. During this crisis, we need for each drive to produce 100-plus percent of its scheduled goal.”

Due to the shortage, all blood types are being accepted, as are donations through the ALYX machine, which takes double red cells but returns the other components and replenishes donors with a saline solution.

“After, most people say they feel better physically as they are more hydrated and because they have provided the blood component that is in highest demand,” Jefferson said. “It has a smaller needle and each donation counts twice toward your goal.”

Local upcoming drives include:

• Tues., Oct. 4, at Straughn High School from noon until 6 p.m. This is the Ayla Powers Compassion blood drive. Powers, a former Straughn Tiger, has a rare cancer that attacks 14–19 year olds. She has received several units of whole blood, platelets and plasma while fighting for her life everyday. Residents are encouraged “to fight with her” by donating blood.

• Wed., Oct. 12, at Andalusia Middle School from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and at Red Level Elementary School from noon until 6 p.m.

• Tues., Oct. 25, at Pleasant Home High School from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

• Thurs., Oct. 27, at Andalusia City Hall from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

• Wed., Nov. 2, at Opp High School from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.