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OneBlood Seeks Back-to-School Blood Donations

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School is back in session soon and OneBlood is urging everyone to put donating blood on their back-to-school shopping list.

According to OneBlood, a transfusion is neede d about every two seconds nationwide. And spokeswoman Betty Roberts says locally, it’s been their summer of discontent.

“Traditionally in the summer blood donations decrease, and we’ve seen that,” said Roberts. “So we’re making every effort to do some ‘back to school’ blood drives to bring the level of the blood supply up to where it needs to be.”

There’s a special need for certain blood types, along with a perpetual need for O-negative, the universal type that can be given to everyone in an emergency. Also needed are B-negative and A-negative.

Roberts says for now, the greatest need is for platelets: colorless blood cells that help stop bleeding by clumping and forming plugs in blood vessel injuries.

“The shelf life is about six days, so you’ve got to turn that around very quickly,” said Roberts. “Because many heart patients need that, many newborn babies, also people fighting cancer and leukemia.”

Every pint, or unit, of blood collected has the potential save at least three lives with its platelets, along with red blood cells and plasma.  Roberts says it takes about 40 minutes to make a donation and undergo a free wellness check: blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron count, along with a cholesterol screening.

Besides treating accident victims and surgical patients, Betty Roberts says donors can also join the fight against breast cancer. Blood and platelets are used to replenish the body, which counters the harsh effects of treatment.

Whenever blood is given the turnaround from donor to patient is fairly quick for two reasons: one, this is a perishable product, and two, there’s always a need for blood somewhere. Roberts says a number of blood drives are scheduled between now and the start of classes, at both OneBlood centers and on location.

“Nineteen-99 East Nine Mile Road, and 2209 North 9th Avenue,” Roberts said. “And we’ll have our bloodmobiles out all weekend including Monday. You can find about all of this on our website, www.oneblood.org.”

To be eligible to give blood, you must be in generally good health, be 16 years old and up, and weigh at least 110 pounds. A photo ID is required, and they would like to see you again in 56 days.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.