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Felicia Tuck, a collections technician with America Red Cross, measures the blood pressure of a potential donor during a blood drive Monday afternoon. -- Christopher Edmunds
Felicia Tuck, a collections technician with America Red Cross, measures the blood pressure of a potential donor during a blood drive Monday afternoon. -- Christopher Edmunds

Demand for blood heats up in the summer

Published 11:42pm Monday, May 12, 2014

By Christopher Edmunds

The Selma Times-Journal

 

Along with the mercury in thermometers, the need for blood donations rises each summer.

Kim Whitman, a biomedical supervisor with American Red Cross, said the summer breaks for schools take a toll on total donations

“We go to schools a lot,” Whitman said, “so the universities being on summer break and the high schools being on summer break contributes to our extra need.”

The American Red Cross hosted a blood drive at the YMCA of Selma-Dallas County on Monday, but received less than 20 donations.

Whitman said donated blood is used in many medical procedures, such as surgeries, organ transplants, cancer treatments and emergency operations.

According to the American Red Cross website, each blood donation of one pint can help up to three different people.

Whitman said the frequency of donation is more important than the amount.

“One pint is all your body can handle at one time,” Whitman said. “Every 56 days, you can donate safely. “

Before donating blood, donors complete registration and undergo a short physical. Whitman said the process takes about 30 minutes.

“There are some criteria that you have to meet,” Whitman said. “We have a health history that we go through and ask a few questions.”

According to redcross.org, all healthy individuals at least 17 years old and 110 lbs. are eligible donors. In Alabama, 16-year-olds can donate with parental consent.

“A lot of people that we have to come in and donate, they’ve personally either gone through it or they had a loved one who needed it,” Whitman said. “You don’t ever know if you’re going to be on the other side and need it someday.”

Nick Long, a mobile unit assistant for American Red Cross, said he encourages everyone to contribute.

“Come out and help save lives,” Long said. “People don’t realize how important it is until they really need it.

For more information, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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