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August 28, 2007 > Critical Blood Shortage Continues

Critical Blood Shortage Continues

Submitted By Tara L. Weekes

Faced with a serious shortage of blood, the American Red Cross is calling on donors to give blood before the shortage grows even more critical.

"There can be high demand for blood during and following the Labor Day weekend due to an increase in highway accidents with people traveling taking their final summer trips," said Jay Winkenbach, CEO of the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region. "This, combined with an expected drop in donations over the holiday, could lead to a shortage so severe that we will be scrambling to get the blood hospitals need for emergencies and they may have to postpone elective surgeries if it gets worse." The Red Cross provides most of the blood for more than 30 Northern California hospitals.

The local blood supply has been extremely low all summer, and the Red Cross declared an emergency appeal to donors in July, following the July 4th holiday. Officials are trying to avoid a similar situation following Labor Day.

"A blood shortage can be easily remedied if people donate blood. We ask everyone eligible to donate to do so before they go away for the holiday or make an appointment now to donate on their return," said Winkenbach. "Any one of us or one of our loved ones may need blood and it's the blood on the shelf that can help save lives."

Red Cross Blood Centers are located in Newark, Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton and San Jose. To locate blood drives and centers, call 800-GIVE-LIFE (800-448-3543) or go online to www.BeADonor.com. To donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh a minimum of 110 lbs and be in general good health.

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