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Red Cross to host Blood Drive

AHOSKIE – The need for blood is always an urgent manner and to many it seems that the urgency is greater everyday.

That’s because, according to the Red Cross, the need is increasing as the giving of blood has decreased, even though there are more who need it.

For the Mid-Atlantic region that North Carolina falls under, there is an extreme shortage of Group O red cells and Group B red cells, so extreme that these types of blood are only distributed to those in an emergency situation.

One of the reasons for the decrease in blood supply, according to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital Lab Technician Lynn Royster, has been the fact that military people now distribute blood among themselves, rather than giving it to the Red Cross.

Royster said summer is the time when blood is needed most because there is a shortage of it being donated, due to people’s busy schedules.

Many people underestimate the importance of donating blood, but that importance is supported by the facts.

&uot;Ninety-five percent of the population will receive at least one unit of blood before they are 75 years old,&uot; Royster said. &uot;But only five percent of people that are eligible to donate blood have actually donated.&uot;

To donate blood, one must be 17 years of age or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

Royster and others involved with the Red Cross and the area hospitals are trying to get local businesses involved in donating blood, as she believes group donations are the key to acquiring the maximum amount of blood.

On their web site, the Red Cross cites the number one reason people do not donate blood is because they do not like needles or are afraid to give blood.

But the site notes that most donors will say the pain is short lived and just a small pinch.

Another reason people give is that donations take too much time, though Royster said it only takes an hour at most.

&uot;With one hour you can help make a difference between life and death for someone to enjoy life,&uot; Royster said.

Royster said she hopes to spur community awareness of the importance and need for blood in the area.

The next blood drive in the region will be in Ahoskie on June 29 at the United Methodist Church from noon to 6 P.M.