Red Cross seeks blood donors


Shantay Jones gives blood March 15, 2011, during a drive at Rocky Mount Medical Park.


By Lindell John Kay
Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The American Red Cross is asking Twin Counties volunteers to give blood because of a shortage in the region and across the nation due to winter storms.

Snow and icy roads over the past several days forced 27 blood drives to be canceled in the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, causing about 750 donations to go uncollected, said Bernadette Jay, external communications manager of the Mid-Atlantic Red Cross Blood Services.

On top of that, nearly 100 blood drives were forced to be canceled across the country last month due to severe weather, resulting in more than 3,100 blood donations going uncollected. Overall, hectic holiday schedules for many regular blood donors and inclement weather contributed to about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December than what was needed.

So the Red Cross is urging eligible donors throughout the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, which includes Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson counties, to give blood or platelets following the recent winter storm, which has compounded a severe winter blood shortage.

“The need for blood doesn’t pause for severe weather – it’s constant,” Jay said. “Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in. Eligible donors of all blood types are critically needed.”

Eligible Twin Counties donors can find a blood donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in the Twin Counties area include:

■ 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Thorne's Chapel Baptist Church at 1624 Windsor Drive in Rocky Mount; 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Honeywell Corp. at 3475 Wesleyan Blvd. in Rocky Mount; and 10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Lowe's at 700 North Wesleyan Blvd in Rocky Mount.

■ 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Key Fitness at 145 Nashville Commons Drive in Nashville and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 21 at Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church at 1104 Taylor Store Road in Nashville.

■ 2:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Red Oak Volunteer Fire Department at 7951 Red Oak Blvd in Red Oak.

■ 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Roanoke Rapids Church of God at 800 West Tenth St. in Roanoke Rapids and 2 to 6 p.m. Jan 20 at the Davie Volunteer Fire Department at 3155 U.S. 158 in Roanoke Rapids.

■ 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Rock Ridge Community at 6605 Rock Ridge School Road in Wilson and 3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Farmington Heights Church of God at 910 Raleigh Road in Wilson.

The Red Cross is extending hours at many donation sites for more donors to give blood or platelets. Overall, the Red Cross has added nearly 200 hours to blood donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help speed up the donation process.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their lives.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.