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Thursday
October 17th, 2019

blood donationROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Every two seconds in America, someone needs a blood donation, and with that ever-urgent need in mind, the Red Cross has several blood drives coming up in Seward County from now through June 2020.

The first drive will take place Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. at Liberal’s Fellowship Baptist Church, and Red Cross External Communications Manager Jan Hale said this October, donors are urged to give all types of blood to support patients with cancer and organ transplants, as well as others in need.

“In particular, we have a need for Type O blood,” she said. “This would be a great opportunity for the folks in Liberal to roll up a sleeve and help save a life.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Hale said many cancer patients need blood products on a regular basis, usually when they are going through chemotherapy.

“If someone knows someone in their family who’s been affected by cancer, making a blood donation is one way to help,” she said.

Hale said Type O positive is the most transfused blood, and this is one reason it, in particular, is being sought during upcoming drives.

“It’s that supply and demand,” she said. “More people have that blood type, so it’s going to be used first because that’s what more people will need. Type O positive is the most transfused type.”

Type O negative is the universal type, meaning it can be given to anyone in case of an emergency or a need for blood when there is not enough time to type a person’s blood.

“The difficulty with O negative blood is so few people in the United States have it,” Hale said. “It is always in demand, and O positive is always in demand because it is the blood type more people have.”

O negative is also one of the rarest types, and Hale said this increases the urgent need for that type.

“The last statistic I saw, less than 5 percent of the population has O negative blood, and when you consider just three out of every 100 people actually donate blood, you’re looking at a very small pool of O negative donors,” she said. “That’s why we’re always looking for those O negative donors and O positive donors. O positive is simply your supply and demand. More people have it. It just goes to prove more people need it. It’s the most transfused blood type.”

Fellowship Baptist will also be the site of two more upcoming drives, one scheduled for Dec. 5 and another for Feb. 27, 2020. Other drives scheduled in the next eight months include:

  • • Nov. 4 from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Kismet Community Building;
  • • Feb. 5, 2020, and April 8, 2020, both from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Seward County Community College; and
  • • April 23, 2020, and June 18, 2020, both from noon to 6 p.m. at First Southern Baptist Church in Liberal.

Donors can only give every 56 dates, and Hale said this means more than likely, their blood will be used before they can donate again.

“We just urge people if you’ve got an extra hour on your hands, this is just a great way to support the community to help those not only fighting cancer, but transplant patients, moms who’ve had a difficult birth,” she said. “There are just so many needs for blood. We’re always urging people to help us and roll up a sleeve.”

Hale said in addition to these drives, donors can find other places to give.

“People can always go to our Web site, redcross.org, plug in their home zip code or the zip code where they work, and it will pull up all open to the public blood drives,” she said. “Hopefully, this one Thursday is convenient for many of our Liberal donors, but if not, there’s opportunities to give. A great way to find those drives is to either download our Blood Donor app or go to the Web site.”

Young people are many of the donors Red Cross sees at drives, and with many of the upcoming drives taking place during the academic calendar, Hale said many of those people will hopefully give a pint.

“School’s back in session, and summer vacation’s over,” she said. “We’ve taken that last vacation. We start looking toward the holidays, and we know time really gets short during those months. Anything folks can do to help us make sure our community’s blood supply stays strong would be much appreciated.”

Of course, the final quarter of the year often sees activities taking place every weekend, and Hale said this can make it harder to find time to give blood. However, there is still an urgent need despite this.

“The reality is regardless of the date on the calendar, somebody in our country needs blood every two seconds,” she said. “It’s up to those of us who will donate. That’s how that blood is available for folks in need.”

Hale said when opportunities such as the upcoming drives are in place, it is a great way for people to say they have done their part to help out with the need for blood.

“The reality is all you’ve got to do to help with that number is take advantage of these community blood drives like the one coming up Thursday, and you’ve done your part to help make sure it’s there,” she said.

Hale has a passion for getting blood donations because of some things that have happened to those she is close to in her life.

“I know people who’ve been touched by the need for blood,” she said. “I’ve known people who’ve needed it, and I don’t need any other urging to make that donation appointment. I just need to bring those people to mind, and it makes taking that hour out of my day so much more important.”

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