Though the official season of giving is past, area Red Cross officials are asking Stokes County residents to roll up their sleeves for one more offering — which is much-needed and could save a life.
“We have an emergency need for blood right now,” said Lynn Wilkes of the American Red Cross office in Winston-Salem, who is involved with collection efforts for Stokes and Surry counties. That includes a series of upcoming drives in Stokes to address the situation.
It is a seasonal shortage that can be due to a combination of factors, Wilkes said.
“We see it mostly around the holidays, and then it gets worse once the winter weather hits,” the Red Cross representative explained. “We often see a lower blood supply during the summer as well, when school is not in session.”
Nearly 150 blood drives were forced to cancel due to severe winter weather. This is in addition to serious illnesses, such as the flu, and hectic holiday schedules collectively contributing to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December, according to Wilkes.
Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and persons receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease all can require blood to save their lives.
“Even temporary disruptions to blood and platelet donations can diminish the availability for hospital patients,” Wilkes said. “It’s the blood on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, and that’s why we’re asking eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets today.”
Donors can help even more by inviting family members, friends or co-workers to donate, too, Red Cross officials say.
In Stokes County, this can be accomplished through a series of blood drives beginning this weekend, as part of an overall effort to add nearly 200 hours to donation centers and community drives nationwide over the coming weeks.
The local schedule includes these locations, dates and times:
• Lawsonville, 4589 NC Highway 8 North, Saturday, Jan. 27, 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. For an appointment call 336-593-8698.
• King Elementary, 152 East School Street, King, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. For an appointment call 336-983-5824.
• West Stokes High School, 1400 Priddy Road, King, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. For an appointment, call 336-983-2099.
• Trinity United Methodist Church, King, Monday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. For an appointment, call 336-671-0151.
• South Stokes High School, 1100 South Stokes High Drive, Walnut Cove, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. For an appointment, call 336-994-2995.
In most states, individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
All blood types are needed to help ensure a sufficient supply is available for patients.
Eligible donors with types O, A-negative and B-negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation, whereby available donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single visit, allowing them to maximize their impact.
Eligible donors with type AB blood are especially needed to supply platelets or plasma, where available, or whole blood.