January 8, 2004

Red Cross Emergency Blood Appeal Extended

With strong support from media outlets across the Region, donors are hearing loud and clear the urgent call for blood. With the threat of a depleted blood supply to start the New Year, donors are responding.

But with 1,800 additional units of blood needed to rebuild the supply, the Red Cross is still welcoming donors with extended donation center hours and numerous community blood drives.

“We’re very grateful for the media’s attention during the launch of this blood appeal,” said Christine Bales, CEO, American Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “They have the ability to reach the masses, and we are feeling the effects of their support. Donors are definitely coming in the door. While we are pleased with the response from the first day of the appeal, we still need approximately 1,500 units of blood above what is already scheduled by January 4th, if we are to meet hospital demand, helping safeguard patients in need. On behalf of the Red Cross, I thank all of those donors who have given and who will be donating during the week. Additionally, we are thankful for the continued support of the media and are mindful of the important role they play in this appeal.”

The American Red Cross is extending its emergency appeal for all blood types. Thanks to donors coming out in record numbers the American Red Cross was able to get through New Year’s Day, but the critical situation is far from over.

The organization had called for donors prior to the holiday when shortages had cut the normal five- to seven-day supply down to just a one-day reserve. The problem has been blamed in part on the rough flu season that has limited the number of donors.

The American Red Cross still needs 1,900 donors over the weekend to maintain a safe blood supply for the Missouri-Illinois region – broken down that means there needs to be 500 donors in addition to what is already on the schedule.

The concern is far from over, and the Red Cross still strongly urges eligible donors to give blood and platelets as soon as possible.

A special blood drive has been scheduled in Memphis on January 12 at the First Baptist Church from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The local event typically generates 100 units of blood.

Donation center hours have been extended and emergency community blood drives have been scheduled. Please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or log on to www.americanredcrossblood.org to find a donation opportunity nearest you.

To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good, general health the day of donation. Donors can give blood every 56 days, or up to six times a year.

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian, nonprofit organization founded in 1881, whose Blood Services division provides approximately half of the nation’s blood supply. The Missouri-Illinois Region annually distributes over 500,000 blood products to patients in need. This region currently serves over 120 hospitals in 122 counties and operates five distribution centers.

The Red Cross relies on the generosity of volunteer blood donors to maintain a safe and adequate blood supply all year long.

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