American Red Cross needs blood donations - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Red Cross needs thousands more blood donors

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The American Red Cross needs your blood! WTOC is partnering with the American Red Cross to help increase their blood supply with the Neighbors in Need campaign.

The donation center needs at least 3,000-4,000 more donors this year because they are now the blood supplier for Memorial Health Medical Center.

"It's a large demand and a great responsibility, and it's a responsibility we take very seriously here at the American Red Cross," said Dean Smith, Coastal District Manager of the American Red Cross. "The need for blood never takes a holiday."

The Red Cross is asking for as much help as it can get. Memorial Health Medical Center is now one of 10 hospitals in the Coastal Empire that gets blood from the Red Cross, which will require an estimated 10,000 donors a year.

"We've got Red Crosses all over the United States and we pull our resources together to be able to provide for all of our hospitals with the product that they need," said Smith. "But I live in Georgia and I am proud to be a part of this community and I want to say that our community was able to support our local blood needs."

 Having more blood at their fingertips helps the community during a crisis.

"It has to be on hand when we need it when the emergency strikes," said Smith.  

Once someone gives blood, Dean says it takes an average of three to four days before that blood will be available because the blood has to go to a central processing facility to be tested and then separated.

"It's broken down into three primary components: red cells, platelets and plasma," said Smith.

That one donation can save three lives.

"If we don't have it on the shelves to transfuse, we can't help save lives," said Smith.

Their biggest need is for O-negative blood because that is the universal blood type that can be given to any blood type. In the event of emergencies, often times there is not enough time to test for a blood type so O Negative is used the most.

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