Blood shortage following canceled drives in Hampton Roads

Williamsport Bureau of Fire and Red Cross Team Up to Hand Out Smoke Detectors

The Red Cross, which collects 40 percent of the country's blood supply, is always accepting donations at its blood center on Forest Avenue in Portland and has a series of blood donation events set up across the state, including events later this month in Yarmouth, Windham, Buxton, Westbrook, Portland, South Portland, Standish and Gorham, as well as the annual blood drive at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland, set for February 8 from 1 to 7 p.m.

"In Virginia, three blood drives were forced to cancel due to last week's winter storm, causing more than 50 donations to go uncollected", Bernadette Jay, External Communications Manager of Biomedical Field Marketing and Communications for the American Red Cross Blood Services, said in an email statement.

According to Kim Murphy, director of donor recruitment for Blood Assurance, shortages are usually expected during the winter because of the weather, busy holiday travel schedules, seasonal illnesses and the fact that numerous region's college students, who make up a large percentage of donors, do not start classes until mid-January. "This always makes winter a hard time, so we really need support from blood donors".

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The Red Cross needs approximately 275 blood donations every day in the region, she added. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to help save their lives. "Of the 38 percent I just mentioned, only eight percent of them actually do donate regularly, so a fraction of the population is providing the blood for everybody else".

According to the nonprofit's CEO, Ana Montero, since January 1 volunteers responded to more than 35 fires in the state and helped 260 people from 92 families. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. Numerous donors, Scott said, were new donors, something that is common at high school blood drives.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

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"All blood types are needed, especially O-negative, which is a universal blood type and can be used for anyone".

All blood types are needed.

Type B negative can be transfused to Rh-positive or negative patients.

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Road conditions and too much snow also forces them to close for the safety of donors.

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