Help prevent a blood shortage — give

We travel this road nearly every year in Sampson County, and just as likely across the country. As we always use this space to make an impassioned plea, believing that those who know the facts and can will help.

Sampson Regional needs your blood. Specifically those who have O and A types. The greatest need is for O positive and A positive, but it’s followed closely behind by O and A negative.

Though not experiencing a critical shortage, as the hospital sometimes does, the call to donate is a means of preventing a problem before it even exists. It’s a proactive approach to an age-old issue, particularly during the summer months, of dwindling blood supplies at the very time more blood is often needed.

So, with the Red Cross sending out an urgent plea and our local hospital getting low on certain types of blood, we felt the need to use this space again to make a plea for residents to give what is, without question, the gift of life.

The hospital has scheduled a local blood drive Thursday, July 19, from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the third floor classroom at Sampson Regional, a good time to help them replenish the blood bank’s supply. Without willing participants we are afraid that we could see a serious shortage arise.

History shows us that during summer months, blood donations drop off, sometimes drastically, because people are often on vacation, traveling during holidays or just in the lull that often comes with summer. Couple that with fewer blood drives since schools are closed and it’s easy to see how blood supplies can slowly dwindle to a disturbing point.

Giving now is imperative, not because there is a shortage but so there won’t be one. It’s important, you see, for the hospital to maintain a solid blood supply, even during months when donations seem to be down. And that means reaching out to those who haven’t given blood before or who have dropped off the donor list for some time.

Hospital officials have said that right now they can use donations of all blood types. Particularly important, again, is O negative, the universal donor type, that can be given to anyone. Its importance increases because those who have an O negative blood type can only receive that type of blood.

Giving is relatively simple and doesn’t require a great deal of time — usually 45 minutes for first time donors and a little less for those who have donated before.

So we urge you to consider being a donor. You must be 18 or older (17 with parental consent); you cannot be taking blood-thinning medicines or antibiotics; and those diagnosed with cancer or who have had a heart attack must wait 12 months, as do those who have recently been tattooed, received a body piercing or any kind of transfusion.

The hospital likes to keep 150 units of blood on hand each month, a sizable amount but a goal that can easily be accomplished with donors.

We hope you’ll consider giving the gift of life. It’s more rewarding than one can possibly imagine. Just call the hospital today (the blood donation center is open Monday-Wednesday from 8:30 until 4 p.m.) and sign up to give blood or sattend the July 19 drive. The number to call is 592-2689, ext. 2253 or 3144.

You’ll be glad you did it. +