When the weather’s hot and the days are filled with summertime activities, giving blood might be the last thing on someone’s mind — but should be a high priority, Red Cross officials say.
They issued an “emergency call” this week for donations. The American Red Cross blood supply has reached this point due to 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June.
“For July in Surry County, it is always a shortage,” said Ashley Gantt, donor recruiter for Surry and other area counties.
“But we’re not typically down that much at this point,” she added Thursday afternoon regarding the emergency status. In response, Gantt has announced a series of drives across Surry County during July which offer local residents a chance to help.
An abnormally warm spring is being blamed for making the blood supply even lower than usual for a time of year known for its downturn in donations.
“So many people are traveling, more people are having elective surgery and students — a huge donor base — are not in school, ” Gantt said of the usual seasonal factors involved.
But with warmer weather arriving earlier this year, donations have been lessened even more because those conditions make people feel hydrated, she added, and not as prone to give as they are in colder weather.
Many regular donors also got an early start on summer activities and haven’t taken time to give blood or platelets.
“I would say this one is so much different this year because of that,” the Red Cross representative said of the summer shortage. “We’re seeing more of a critical need now.”
Another factor is this year’s mid-week Independence Day holiday, which has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. Many sponsors, especially businesses, are unable to host those events because employees are taking extended vacations.
As the provider of 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors — now more than ever — to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. Every blood type is needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative, in order to meet patient demand this summer.
“Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country,” said Delisa English, CEO of the American Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region. “Of that, the Carolinas Blood Services Region must collect approximately 1,600 pints per day.”
Local Drives Planned
Fourteen blood drives are scheduled throughout the month in Surry County.
The schedule includes these dates, locations and times:
• July 2: The Surry County Red Cross chapter building, 1:30-6 p.m., sponsored by the Mount Airy Lions;
• July 3: Raven Knob Boy Scout camp, 2:30-7 p.m.;
• July 4: Mountain Park Volunteer Fire Department, in memory of Linda Jennings, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.;
• July 10: Raven Knob Boy Scout camp, 2:30-7 p.m.;
• July 11: G&B Energy, Elkin, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.;
• July 13: Northern Hospital of Surry County, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.;
• July 15: Elkin Presbyterian Church, 1-5 p.m.;
• July 16: Elkin Rescue Squad, 1:30-6 p.m., sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7794;
• July 17: Raven Knob Boy Scout camp, 2:30-7 p.m.;
• July 23: First United Methodist Church in Pilot Mountain, sponsored by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, noon-4:30 p.m.;
• July 24: Raven Knob Boy Scout camp, 2:30-7 p.m.;
• July 27: Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.;
• July 29: Beulah Ruritan Club building, 12:30-5 p.m.;
• July 31: Cross Creek Country Club, sponsored by the Mount Airy Rotary Club, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health can be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors who are 18 and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Gantt said appointments to give blood can be made by calling her at 336-529-4918. She also would like to hear from business operators or club representatives who are interested in hosting a drive.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.