August 25, 2005

Blood Drive Dedicated to Austin Poole

Just as preparation is critical to ensuring summer safety when enjoying the outdoors and travel, preparation is critical to the American Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region in order to safely meet patients’ medical needs. The Red Cross is again facing a challenging summer, as blood and platelet donations traditionally decline during this time of year.

Summer vacations divert regular donors from their blood donation routines, yet, the Red Cross must be prepared to give patients the critical blood products they require to survive. Eligible donors are encouraged to give at the Red Cross blood drive Monday, August 29 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Christian Church in Downing. This drive is dedicated to Austin Poole, who recently was diagnosed with leukemia.

Each presenting donor will receive a complimentary T-shirt.

Maintaining an adequate supply of all the blood types is important, but the Red Cross must be prepared to supply Type O. Whether in the emergency room or during surgical procedures, physicians rely on the Red Cross to supply the type O blood group — O negative and O positive — to help save lives. O negative, the “universal blood type,” is vital in emergency situations while O positive can be transfused to over 80 percent of patients. Without an adequate supply of these blood types, patients’ lives may be compromised.

“Time is of the essence in critical situations when doctors require type O blood products,” said Edahn Isaak, MD, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “O negative can be given to anyone while O positive can be transfused when there are limitations on the O negative supply. However, there is no substitute for blood when supplies are depleted, which is a serious concern during the summer months.”

The need for blood is constant — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. O negative is critical but it is preferable that patients receive their own blood type, which is why it’s important for everyone to give blood.

Eligible donors are encouraged to give the gift of life today and every 56 days. To be prepared to meet patients’ needs, the Red Cross relies on approximately 25,000 donations daily nationwide. In the Missouri-Illinois Region, 1,200 donations of whole blood are needed every day.

Community blood drives are an excellent way to be prepared to respond to any unforeseen emergency or national disaster. Everyday men and women organize Red Cross blood drives at their local businesses, churches or hospitals and they ultimately help save lives. To sponsor a blood drive, please call 1-877-873-5510.

In Missouri, healthy individuals who are at least 17 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more are eligible to donate blood. Federal regulations require whole blood donors to wait 56 days between donations. Platelet donors can donate as many as 24 times a year. To schedule a blood donation appointment, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.americanred Donors should bring positive ID, which they will need to present before donating.

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