The Red Cross is asking eligible donors to participate in several local blood drives to prevent a shortage. Three donation events will be hosted in Sedalia during the coming week.
Supplies are currently low because during the summer months, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each blood drive than what is needed to meet the needs of patients, according to the Red Cross.
Vacations and summer activities are among the reasons regular donors may not find the time to give.
“We get about 20 percent of the blood from high school and college kids and they don’t donate when they are not in school,” said Craig Jackson, Red Cross Account Manager. “That seems to hurt us every year and a lot of people are traveling and taking vacations so they don’t have the time to donate as well.”
During the colder months, the Red Cross strives to keep a 72-hour supply of blood on hand. In the summer, that amount drops by approximately one-half.
“Locally we try to work with a 72-hour supply on our shelf. Over the summer that drops to a 24-48 hour supply, so we get it out about as fast as we get it collected,” Jackson said. “Hospital use sometimes goes up in the summer because you have a lot of car accidents and boat accidents. They use a lot more blood because people are out and about more.”
As a national network, the Red Cross has a unique responsibility to help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed. By donating blood or platelets through the Red Cross, donors may be helping patients in their community or patients across the nation.
“We are going to send it out to our local hospitals in need. We will meet our regions needs first,” Jackson said. “You could donate in Sedalia and it could be used in Kansas City or Columbia, but we can never guarantee it is going to be used inside the state. We are going to send it where the blood is needed.”
Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days, so they must constantly be replenished. Anyone in good health can donate.
“There is no maximum age, so anyone can donate as long as they are over the age of 16,” Jackson said. “Those under 16 years old need to have a parental consent form signed. You need to have some form of photo ID to donate. From there, you just need to eat well and drink a lot of fluids before you come in. Make sure you are feeling well the day you donate.”
The following blood drives are available this and next week in the area:
• 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Knights of Columbus, 1708 Elm Hills Blvd.
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at KSIS KSDL KXKX Radio, 3500 Snyder Ave.
• Noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Ewing Vocational Center, 1500 Ewing Dr.
• 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 24 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Community Activity Center.
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 25 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Community Activity Center.
Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some 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 have to meet certain height and weight requirements.