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Red Cross blood drive set at University on Jan. 26

By Staff | Jan 21, 2011

Every minute of every day, somebody needs blood. There is only one source: volunteers.

Only three out of 100 Americans donate blood, according to the American Red Cross website.

“With the bad weather, our donor numbers are down, but we need every donor we get,” said Alice Shank, Red Cross training coordinator out of Hagerstown.

Donation centers will be open in many local areas to try and reduce the amount of travel for the donors.

One center will be on the Shepherd University campus, 301 King St. It is open to the public Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Shank was pleased with the improvements in donor numbers once the Alpha Phi Omega club took over at Shepherd. APO, with nearly 45 volunteers, advertises around campus, sets up the equipment, meets and greets donors and takes everything down.

“They used to average 50 donors. For the last four drives they have averaged 81 donors,” Shank said.

Donors will be offered pizza, cookies, water or juice.

“We have been doing lots of advertising this time. We want to go way over our goal of 100 donors,” said Ana Mancano, APO blood drive coordinator.

The Red Cross is also offering a Charles Town location. Donors can visit the Walmart along Patrick Henry Way on Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Every last Monday of the month, the Shepherdstown Fire Hall on Route 45 also hosts a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m.

The actual donation process has four steps and takes approximately 40 minutes.

Volunteers must go over basic eligibility and show two forms of identification. Then Red Cross staff conducts a confidential physical to determine your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Then blood is drawn while the donor is comfortably seated and monitored. This is all followed up with a replenishing snack and a drink, while still being monitored.

Some of the eligibility guidelines are being 17 years of age or older, meeting height and weight requirements and being in reasonably good health. A person can give every 56 days.

Even though all blood looks alike, they are not all the same, according to the Red Cross website.

Different blood types need to be matched correctly. Blood Type O can be donated to all other types, but blood type AB can only be given to a person with type AB. No matter what type, all donations will be welcome.

For more information or to learn how a company can host a blood drive, call Patty Pirtle, local Red Cross community coordinator 540-539-0834.

For other information visit the website www.redcrossblood.org.