ELIZABETHTOWN – Vacation season may be here, but the need for blood never takes a vacation, and summertime can be a difficult time for the American Red Cross.
“The need never stops,” said Phil Harris, executive director of the Fayetteville branch of the American Red Cross.
According to Harris, summer is the most challenging season to get blood donations, with people on vacation and enjoying their summer. Harris says the demographic that donates the most blood is young adults from high school or college, who are on their summer break.
To get the message out there, American Red Cross tries to keep advertisements in papers and on the radio. The American Red Cross also has a free app that can help people find locations near them to donate blood. It offers the following features: Find local blood drives and donations centers quickly and easily, conveniently schedule or reschedule appointments, get reminders of appointments, keep track of blood donations among many other features.
People can also register for a blood drive in their area. Those in Bladen County — organizations, churches, businesses, etc. — can even set up a blood drive near them and get the community involved.
“We encourage people to sponsor,” Harris said.
According to Harris, every two seconds someone needs blood. Harris says the process of giving blood takes about an hour, during which one pint of blood is taken — and that pint of blood can do wonders.
“One pint of blood could save up to three lives,” Harris said.
Harris explains that O negative is the blood type they need the most because it is the universal blood type.
According to an employee in the laboratory department at Bladen County Hospital, the amount of blood the hospital goes through a day can vary. Some days they might not use any blood; other days, they may go through three or four units of blood a day. The hospital uses an average of 35 units a month.
According to the employee, there are many reasons why a person would need a blood transfusion. Some reasons include traumas, car accidents or certain diseases. The most common reason is a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed.
“Occasionally there is a blood shortage,” the employee said.
Another employee, who works for the volunteer center, said that the hospital holds a blood drive every two months.
The next blood drive is scheduled for July 27 from 12:30 until 3:30 p.m. It will be held at the front parking lot of Bladen County Department of Social Services, located at 208 McKay St. in Elizabethtown. For information about this drive, the Cape Fear Valley Blood Center contact is Michael Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on blood facts and statistics, visit the American Red Cross site at http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics.
For information on hosting a blood drive visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-blood-drive.
Brendaly Vega is Bladen Journal summer intern from UNCP. She can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.