Dangerous blood shortage affects our area

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2005

The need for blood donations is a serious issue that is often overlooked by Alabamians. Donating blood is simple and painless, but the region is faced with serious shortages twice a year.

“These blood shortages that we experience are needless,” said Keith Jordan, Alabama and Central Gulf Coast communications manager for the American Red Cross.

Jordan said only four percent of people in this area are giving blood, while over 60 percent are eligible. To be eligible to donate, one must be healthy, at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and not have given blood within the last eight weeks.

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According to Jordan, this region’s two prominent times of shortage occur in the summer and winter. He said high school and college students are 20 percent of the four percent of people giving blood, so when school is out for holidays, there are far fewer donors.

In a recent survey, the American Red Cross found that 19 million Americans don’t know where the blood comes from, but they think it will just be there when they need it.

Most of the blood Americans use today came from the men and women who donated large quantities during World War II and the Korean War, but according to Jordan, that blood is running out. There is a greater demand due to medical miracles and people living longer, he said.

Area residents are urged to donate.

The New Era Cap Company will hold a blood drive on Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for its employees.

To find out when the next community blood drive will be held or to schedule an appointment to give blood, call (800) Give-Life or visit the American Red Cross’s Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Web site at www.alacgc.org.