The American Red Cross is out for blood, and local residents can help.
Due to what’s termed a “significant” shortage, the organization has issued a special appeal for eligible blood and platelet donors of all types to roll up a sleeve now and help save lives.
“It has just been announced this week that there is an emergency need for blood,” explained Lynn Wilkes of the Carolinas Blood Services Region of the Red Cross in Winston-Salem, which is involved with collections in Surry County.
“Blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in,” Wilkes added.
Donations received through the Red Cross have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months. This has resulted in about 39,000 fewer donations than what’s needed, as well as a significant draw-down of the overall Red Cross blood supply.
Presently, the Red Cross has less than a five-day supply on hand, a level it strives to maintain at all times to meet the daily needs of patients and be prepared for emergencies that would require significant volumes of donated blood products.
Surry County residents are urged to give blood through various drives being held throughout July, and encouraged to make a donation appointment at numbers listed for those chairing each to reduce possible wait times at collection sites.
The schedule for the rest of this month in Surry includes drives that are open to the public at these locations and times:
• Sunday at Piney Grove Baptist Church, 278 Piney Grove Church Road, Mount Airy, from 2-6:30 p.m., chaired by Tammy Johnson (336) 406-1242.
• Tuesday at Boy Scout Camp Raven Knob, 266 Raven Knob Road, Mount Airy, from 1:30-6 p.m., chaired by Will Nichols (336) 970-3363.
• Next Thursday at First Presbyterian Church of Mount Airy, 326 S. Main St., from 2-6:00 p.m., chaired by Shasta Bode-Brown (336) 786-2803.
• Next Friday at Mayberry Mall in Mount Airy, in the mall office, from 12:30-5 p.m., chaired by Chad Harris (336) 786-1005.
• Next Friday at Northern Hospital of Surry County, 830 Rockford St., Mount Airy, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., chaired by Ashly Lancaster (336) 783-8079.
• Next Saturday at Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, 1892 Pine Ridge Road, Mount Airy, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., chaired by Pepper Galyean (336) 789-4490.
• July 18, an Elkin community drive at 946 N. Bridge St., from 1:30-6 p.m., chaired by Bobby Shores (336) 244-1568.
• July 19 at Boy Scout Camp Raven Knob, 266 Raven Knob Road, Mount Airy, from 1:30-6 p.m., chaired by Will Nichols (336) 970-3363.
• July 19 at Golden Living Center, 542 Allred Mill Road, Mount Airy, from noon-4:30 p.m., chaired by Bridget Busick (336) 789-5076.
• July 25, a Pilot Mountain community drive, at 210 Marion St., from noon-4:30 p.m., chaired by Margie Nichols (336) 351-3413.
• July 29 at the Elkin Rescue Squad, 946 N. Bridge St., from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., chaired by Matthew Waddell (336) 366-7792.
• July 30 at Mount Airy Wesleyan Church, 2063 S. Main St., from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., chaired by Billie Haymore (336) 789-9303.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Donors ages 18 to 24 account for 25 percent of blood donations during the school year, but only about half of those in that age group give blood during the summer months.
Persons who donated blood earlier this summer could be eligible to give again.
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and double red cells, every 112 days.
Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year.
On average, the Red Cross must collect 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.