January is National Blood Donor Month and the American Red Cross has two opportunities for Ashe County residents to make a difference and donate locally during the month.
The first blood drive will be from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the National Guard Armory in Jefferson. To make an appointment to donate, call Eula Blevins at (336) 982-2164.
The second opportunity to donate blood to the Red Cross be from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, at Mountain Hearts in Jefferson, next to Ashe Memorial Hospital. To make an appointment to donate at this drive, call Carla Young at (336) 846-0744.
The Red Cross lists January as its most difficult month to recruit blood donors, due to holidays, weather conditions and frequent illnesses.
Brian Womack, interim director for the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Red Cross, said that traditionally the volunteer base in Ashe for blood drives has been very strong.
Ginny Anderson, a donor recruitment representative for the Red Cross in Winston-Salem, said the donations go to three main recipient categories: surgery or emergency situation patients, cancer patients, people with sickle-cell or other blood diseases and burn victims.
“Blood donations can go to anyone from very pre-mature babies in neonatal intensive care unit, all the way up to the elderly,” Anderson said.
The Red Cross recommends eating iron-rich foods and drinking plenty of water to hydrate prior to your donation appointment.
“I usually like to tell people to carve out about an hour for the total process,” Anderson said, although the actual blood donation only takes eight to ten minutes, donors need complete a short questionnaire with a phlebotomist and may experience a short wait time.
More information on the blood donation process can be found at www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood .
For information on the Blue Ridge Chapter of the American Red Cross, or to schedule a blood donation online visit www.redcross.org/nc/boone.