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Blood donors desperately needed in western Iowa


July 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The American Red Cross is asking you to roll-up your sleeve and give blood…the gift of life. Midwest Region Red Cross spokesperson April Oppliger, says blood donations were way down in May and June not only locally, but across the country. She says during those months, the American Red Cross saw 6 percent fewer donors than during the same period in past years.

April donations in the Midwest Region of the American Red Cross weren’t down as far as in other parts of the country, and the area is a little better off, because there is a dedicated corps of donors. She says the thing to remember is that the blood inventory is a national issue. The Midwest Region serves more than 80 hospitals in Nebraska, southwest Iowa and parts of Kansas and Colorado.

Oppliger says blood-donation numbers typically dip everywhere in the summer, because schools are out, and people are on vacation or enjoying other activities. This summer’s Missouri River flooding also has caused some complications for the Red Cross, because their blood mobiles couldn’t get to some of the places where they would normally would hold blood drives.

She says the need for blood knows no end. Every two seconds, someone in America needs a blood transfusion. That adds up to 5 million patients every year. The Red Cross must recruit enough donors each day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, people undergoing surgery, children with blood disorders and others. That amounts to more than 22,000 blood donations each weekday and about 15,000 each weekend. Yet less than 38 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood.

Oppliger said that if the downward trend in donor numbers continues, they‘re going to be in a bad situation.” Eligible blood donors are asked to call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and make an appointment.

The Red Cross Blood Mobile will be: in Atlantic Thursday, July 21st, from Noon until 6-p.m., at the Catholic Parish Center; in Avoca on July 30th, from 8:30-a.m. to 1:30-p.m. at the American Legion Building; On August 10th, at Mahle components in Atlantic, from Noon to 4-p.m.; and in Harlan on August 11th, from 8am-2pm, at Myrtue Medical Center.