July 6, 2006

Blood Donors To Receive Free Busch Stadium T-Shirt

(Columbia, MO - June 26, 2006) - 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 First Baptist Church in Memphis on Tuesday, July 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The church is located at 910 N. Weaver. Each presenting donor will receive a specially designed new Busch Stadium commemorative t-shirt by renowned artist, John Pils.

Maintaining an adequate supply of all the blood types is important, yet, 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. 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. For more information, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.americanredcrossblood.org. Donors should remember to bring positive identification, which they will be asked to present before donating. When you help the American Red Cross, you help America.

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