Red Cross urgently needs blood donations

JOHNSON CITY -- The American Red Cross has issued an urgent appeal for blood donors for the first time since Sept. 11.
   Although donors of all blood types are needed, there is a particular need for types O, B positive, and A negative. Levels of some of these types have dropped o a one-day supply.
   "We have seen a 16 percent decline in blood donors this May compared to last May," said Robert F. Fechner, executive director of the Carolinas Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. "We are particularly concerned about this trend as we face the Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer. If this trend continues for the next 10 days, the amount of available blood will decrease by more than a third.
   "The tremendous outpouring of blood donors following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks incorrectly led many to believe that there was enough blood on hand to meet the needs for an extended period, or that we discarded vast amounts of donated blood. Not true. Blood has a limited shelf life of only 42 days. We were able to use almost 97 percent of the red cells and 100 percent of the plasma from donations in September, but the need for blood exists every day in our local communities."
   Blood donors are required daily to meet this ongoing need as well as position the Red Cross to respond to unexpected emergency blood needs. The Carolinas Blood Services Region distributes more than 1,500 units of blood or blood products every day to hospitals in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
   Blood drives are being held at the Johnson City Blood Center Monday and Tuesday from 2:30-7 p.m. and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. All participating donors will receive an insulated cooler.
   Eligible blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health.
   For more information or to make an appointment, call 800-GIVE LIFE or 928-7541.