The winter holidays can be a peak season for blood shortages due to the increased rate of traffic accidents that result from high traffic volume and adverse road conditions, the ARC said. The shortage worsens during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and last minute shopping ventures and other holiday activities often overshadow the Red Cross’s numerous blood drives occurring in the community.
Another disheartening fact about donors and blood drives in general is that many of the past generation’s donors are rapidly approaching the age where the ability to give blood is no longer feasible. These elderly men and women, often referred to as our Greatest Generation, will need the next generation to step forward to give blood and save lives.
As a resort, the ARC is beginning to reach out to area high schools to recruit student donors. In the past, students had to be of 17 years of age to donate blood, but due to a new North Carolina statute, students that are at least 16 years old can now give blood with a parent or guardian’s permission.
This past fall, Ashe County High School held a blood drive that was declared an overwhelming success by ARC volunteers and ACHS high school students were noted for their optimistic and giving attitude by several Red Cross representatives. Part of the appeal of a blood drive to high school students is that students can receive a sense of accomplishment by helping save lives and also they do not have to give alone, as in most cases, a friend or sibling is by their side giving blood as well.
High schools and armories are becoming the center stages for community blood drives. In the past, local industries and corporations have always provided a large number of donors for on-site blood drives because of convenience and the absence of any time restraints. With a dragging economy, many industries have been forced to relocate or shutdown creating a void of venues for blood drives. The National Guard Armory in Ashe County has opened its doors the third Thursday of every month to the Red Cross and the community to hold blood drives.
In order to give blood, potential donors must be 17 years of age, 16 years of age with parental consent, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Potential donors should also be in good health. If past donors have already given blood, they must wait 56 days before making another donation. To be able to donate platelets, you must be able to donate blood as well.
For more information on a blood drive near you or information regarding new ARC reading materials, please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or visit www.redcrossblood.org and the click on the Carolina’s division link or the “Who May Recycle Life” link on the How to Give page.