Donors needed at area blood drives

This winter’s backlash has left many Tri-State Area residents coOped up and off the roads.

It’s a problem in many aspects, but one of serious note is that the frigid temperatures and slippery roadways and sidewalks have kept many of the usual blood donors away, and it means lower blood supplies at our area hospitals.

Luckily officials with the Greater Allegheny Blood Region, which serves our area and local hospitals, know it’s a slow time of the year and they plan ahead.

The 28th-annual Ohio Valley Media Blood Drive gets under way at 10 a.m. Monday at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. It will continue until 7 p.m., and donor appointments are encouraged by calling (304) 232-1175, but walk-in donors are welcome.

The goal of this year’s blood drive is 350 successful donations. To meet such a goal, about 440 people will need to donate blood.

In honor of National Blood Donor Month this month, we’re asking those who can to venture outside and head to WesBanco Arena to donate blood.

Those wanting to donate blood more locally can head to the American Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter at 81 Talbott Drive in Wintersville from noon to 6 p.m. on Mondays.

And, on Tuesday, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Project B.E.S.T. and the local Red Cross chapter will sponsor a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. at Eastern Gateway Community College.

Although the Red Cross accepts all blood types, O negative, the universal blood type which can be transfused to patients of all types, is in particular need as it is always in great demand and often in short supply. Donors with types O positive, A negative and B negative are also in need.

Statistics show as much as 60 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, yet as little as 5 percent actually donates. And every two seconds, someone in America needs blood.

We also must remember that blood is needed for other reasons than emergency situations. Cancer, transplant and open-heart surgery patients need blood every day. It’s important to keep in mind that blood donors are needed on a regular basis, not only in the hours, days and weeks following a tragedy.

So many times friends and family of someone in need of surgery donate blood during that particular crisis. It’s very much appreciated, but blood of all types is needed every day in every community.

Donating blood is painless and can be done in about one hour, according to officials. Donors only need to be age 17 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.

We’re asking eligible area residents to become more responsible blood donors, as the need for blood knows no particular season.