The Yadkin Valley Rotary Club is holding a blood drive at the Elkin Rescue Squad at 946 N. Bridge St. Monday from 1:30 to 6 p.m., with a goal to collect 46 units of blood. The drive is planned to help make up for the past summer’s lack of blood donations in preparation for the rest of the year.
All donors will receive a $5 gift card to Amazon as well as a free coupon for Turkey Hill Haymakers for a free bottle of juice or cider.
“We’re definitely excited to partner with the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club on the blood drive,” said Lynn Wilkes, account manager and blood drive representative with American Red Cross. “They always do a great job with sponsoring it. They’ve sponsored it on a regular basis every year as a way to serve the community.”
The Red Cross is a national network responsible for helping ensure blood is available for patients in need. It is estimated that the Red Cross must collect more than 14,000 blood donations every day for patients around the country to keep up with demand.
Blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, organ transplant patients, heart surgery patients, and people receiving treatments from cancer, sickle-cell disease, and leukemia. Blood donors are the only source of blood and platelets for these people. Someone needs blood in the country every two seconds.
“Someone always needs blood and you never know when that need may hit close to home,” said Wilkes. “People of different ages will always need blood every minute of our lives and it could be someone close to you. It’s even more important right now because we have an emergency need for blood after finishing up the summer months. Blood is going out faster than it is coming in. It’s important we get it in as soon as possible to make sure we have a supply ready.”
The American Red Cross has a significant blood shortage. At the moment, the Red Cross has less than five days of blood on hand for use. While the Red Cross strives on keeping that five-day supply on hand to meet patient needs, they still need more blood donated to catch up after a loss of summer donations. There are 39,000 fewer donations than what is needed to meet demands. Blood donations are also perishable as red blood cells only have a shelf life of 42 days and platelets just five days, requiring them to constantly be replenished.
Much of the collection loss during the summer months is due to people being on vacation and being busy with other summer activities.
“People don’t have as much time to donate during the summer so it’s always a difficult time of the year,” said Wilkes. “Once the fall season starts up, we’ll start getting back on track. During the school year, students often donate a lot and that makes up 25 percent of our donations, so our donations will kick back up thanks to the school blood drives. We also don’t have as many students donating during the summer.”
Blood shortages are not uncommon, but they can be overcome by generous volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves.
People 16 or 17 of age, with parental consent in most states, must weigh 110 pounds and be in good health can donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger must meet certain height and weight requirements.
People can safely donate blood every 56 days and double red cells can be donated every 113 days. Platelets can be given every seven days or up to 24 times a year.
People also are encouraged to contact Wilkes in starting a blood drive by phone at 336-816-6280 or by email at [email protected]
Visit at redcrossblood.org to schedule donation appointments.
“The main thing that we need sponsors to do is to recruit blood donors,” said Wilkes. “We bring the equipment, they bring the people. The more donations we get now the better. Eventually we will be heading into November and December with the holidays which is another critical time of the year for blood donors.”
The Surry County Red Cross is located in Mount Airy at 844 Westlake Drive. People are encouraged to make an appointment with the Red Cross Blood Donor App, at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-733-2767.
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.