Give the gift of life

Whether contemplating going shopping for back-to-school supplies or deciding which community pool to visit in the waning days of summer, we ask that you also give some thought to doing something extraordinary.

The American Red Cross Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region, which encompasses many area Red Cross chapters including much of our area, has put out a plea following the recent announcement of a looming blood shortage.

There’s an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give. Please remember that patients at area hospitals don’t get a break from needing blood – that need is constant.

Throughout our region blood donations are down approximately 8 percent during the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. And the summertime brings a need for blood as people are out and about more. Think about it – accidents happen and blood is needed. Regular donors are on vacation or busy with their outdoor activities and don’t think about making blood donations.

So we’re issuing this gentle reminder that blood donors are in demand, especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood. The facts are type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood, types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

And keep in mind that one unit of donated blood can help save the lives of three people. And that need is great. From the child injured in an accident to the cancer patient undergoing treatment, your decision to donate blood can be a life-and-death matter.

All residents have to do is fill out a questionnaire and undergo a simple health check involving temperature, pulse and blood condition before the donation is made. The skilled professionals who take the donations make giving blood quick, painless and effortless on the part of the donor.

And for those who can’t donate blood, please remember the local Red Cross chapter is always looking for volunteers to assist with bloodmobile drives, help in disaster response and assistance, work in the chapter office or aid in fundraising.

Please give blood or donate some time to the American Red Cross. You’ll be considered a hero for this selfless endeavor.