Summer holidays tend to keep many donors away from donor centers and blood drives; however the need for blood remains constant. A decline in donations can lead to dangerous blood shortages, potentially meaning that blood would not be available for patients depending on life-saving transfusions.
To help meet the need for summer blood donations, members of the Sentinels and Warthogs Motorcycle Clubs have joined force with the Red Cross to hold the fifth annual "Bikers Want Your Blood" summer blood drive. This annual event comes at one of the most difficult times for blood collections, helping to rebuild supplies.
The blood drive will be Monday, July 9, at the WesBanco Arena, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Area blood donors and others who have not donated blood are urged to schedule an appointment or walk in to donate blood. The goal of this important blood drive is 350 successful blood donations. Presenting donors will receive a special "Bikers Want Your Blood" t-shirt (while supplies last) and special refreshments.
Appointments can be made by going online at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). While not required, appointments are encouraged.
Donors who qualify also have the option of making a double red cell donation.
"All blood types are needed, but particularly type O, which is most often requested by hospitals. We are also in need of types A negative and B negative" said John Hagins, CEO, of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region. "Declines in blood collection strain the current blood supply and also make it particularly difficult for the Red Cross to be prepared for future emergency needs. Each day, countless trauma victims, cancer patients, premature babies and surgical candidates rely on the availability of blood for transfusions, and as a community we need to be able to meet those needs."
High schools and colleges account for nearly 17% of Red Cross blood collections nationwide, and almost 30% of collections locally. School closings in the summer are a key factor in the significant seasonal decline in blood donations. Vacations, travel, weather, and busy summer schedules are some of the other reasons donations decline. Unfortunately, outdoor activities can sometimes lead to more accidents and busier emergency rooms. A single car accident victim could use as much as 100 units of blood, and in an emergency there is no time to wait. Approximately 900 blood donations are needed daily in the Greater Alleghenies Region to maintain an adequate supply for local hospitals.
There is no substitute for human blood, and volunteer donors are the only lifeline for patients in need of a transfusion. There are thousands of ordinary people in our community who will not make it a priority to donate blood this summer; the Red Cross asks if you will be one of the Extraordinary few who take the time to help lives.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with a signed parental permission form), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors younger than 19 years also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.