Red Cross pleads for blood donors

Published 10:55 am Friday, December 18, 2009

Staff Writer

The American Red Cross is reminding potential blood donors of the need for blood donations during the holidays.
“Our inventory levels are beginning to dip already,” said Ellen West, senior account manager for Red Cross blood services in Greenville.
Blood supplies are down across the region, and there is a “desperate” need for type-O blood, said Kristen Hatfield, regional communications manager with the Red Cross.
“The need for blood never takes a vacation,” Hatfield said.
The agency’s Mid-Atlantic region covers central Virginia and eastern North Carolina, she said.
The region must take in 600 units of blood per day to maintain adequate supplies for hospitals, Hatfield related.
A news release shows that Mid-Atlantic Blood Services has partnered with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse for a special give-away program that is exclusive to the region, Hatfield said.
As an incentive to donors, the news release reads, “Every donor who gives blood or platelets in the Mid-Atlantic Region during December or January will receive a FREE ‘Kick it Up a Notch’ Oven Mitt packaged with two of Chef Emeril’s signature holiday-themed recipes and a personal thank you note, while supplies last.”
Hatfield said the Red Cross also offers cards that donors may pass on to friends or relatives to signify having made a blood or platelet donation in the recipient’s honor.
One upcoming blood drive is slated for January at Hackney Division of SVC in Washington.
Hackney’s last blood drive attracted about 24 donors, down from the company’s usual total of 35 to 40, said Lauren Moore, human-resources coordinator.
“That was the lowest one we’ve ever had,” Moore said.
She attributed the lower-than-average turnout to illnesses — flu, colds — that were working their way through the area population in October.
Hackney’s blood drive will be open to the public.
“You never know when you may need it, and people are always in a situation every day that they need blood,” Moore said.
Another upcoming blood drive is set for Five Points Free Will Baptist Church in Pinetown.
“We believe that anything that we can do to help others is certainly a very worthwhile cause,” said Justin Marker, pastor. “And any time we can take the opportunity to help save someone’s life it’s very important.”
The church’s drive also is open to the public, he said.