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Need for blood remains as summer comes to an end

ALBANY — As the Labor Day weekend approaches and summer nears its end, an immediate need still remains for blood donations, officials with the American Red Cross said Tuesday.

Kristen Stancil, communications program manager for the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region, said that — following an emergency call for donations in July — an urgent need still remains for platelets and all blood types, especially O negative, A negative and B negative.

“The American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donations on July 9 after seeing about 50,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than expected in June. Donations increased by about 15 percent after the emergency call,” Stancil said. “We are grateful to everyone who responded to the emergency call to help patients in need.”

Due to school being out of session and people busy with summer festivities, officials say it is not uncommon for the blood donation supply to drop during this time of year. While the difference varies from year to year, school blood drives alone generally account for roughly 20 percent of the supply.

From Monday through Sept. 9, those who present to donate could win one of five $1,000 American Express gift cards. To help further spur donations over the holiday weekend, donors who come in Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 will will also receive a complimentary Red Cross T-shirt, officials with the Red Cross say

“The summer may be coming to an end, but the work of the Red Cross is far from over,” said Jerry J.K. Tillery, CEO of the Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region, in a statement. “As you make plans for this Labor Day holiday, please also make time to give blood and help patients who depend on your lifesaving donation.

“Patients in local hospitals often can’t take a break to enjoy the holiday. But blood and platelet donors can give these patients a chance to enjoy this time with family and friends — simply by rolling up a sleeve.”

Donations are accepted at the Albany Blood Donor Center at 1515 Dawson Road. There will also be blood drives taking place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Albany Technical College, Building C.

Those wishing to make an appointment to donate or are seeking more information can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org

A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.