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Red Cross Media Day Blood Drive Falls Just Short of Goal

Photo by Shelley Hanson - The American Red Cross Media Day Blood Drive is held Monday at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. Officials said 146 units were collected.

WHEELING — This week’s Media Day Blood Drive collected 146 units of blood, nearly reaching the American Red Cross’ goal of 150 units, said Sharon Kesselring, spokeswoman with the American Red Cross.

Kesselring said during Monday’s drive, held at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, that while the Red Cross’ goal was to collect 150 units of blood, about 200 people had signed up to donate that day.

“We always unfortunately experience some no shows,” Kesselring said Wednesday, “but in this case, some were not healthy enough to donate that day, some did not come due to weather and a few did come, but did not make it through our health history area to donate due to, for example, low iron, etc.”

In addition to low iron, other issues that can disqualify a person from donating can include medical issues such as having HIV/AIDS, certain types of cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma, being in active treatment for diseases such as hepatitis and more, according to the Red Cross.

In most cases, medication does not disqualify a person from taking blood, the Red Cross notes.

“Over-the-counter oral homeopathic medications, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements are acceptable. There are a handful of drugs that are of special significance in blood donation,” the organization added.

“Certain types of medication can also disqualify a person from donating, while others have waiting periods, such as some blood thinners.”

There are also waiting periods for certain immunizations or vaccinations.

While 146 units of blood may sound like a lot to some, the Red Cross says it is still in a “blood crisis” across the nation because of the low number of donations. The Red Cross likes to have at least three to five days’ worth of blood available so it can provide blood for large-scale emergencies. However, now it only has a half-day’s worth of blood on hand.

“Since the American Red Cross issued our first-ever blood crisis alert, we’ve witnessed the generosity of blood donors nationwide,” Kesselring said in a news relese. “So many have rolled up their sleeves to help ensure patients counting on blood product transfusions can receive life-saving care without delay …

“But as winter presses on, the Red Cross blood supply remains at dangerously low levels,” she continued. “We need people to continue making the earliest-available appointments in our community in the weeks ahead to combat threats to the blood supply — like recent severe winter storms across the country — that can challenge the ability of the Red Cross to recover from our worst blood shortage in more than a decade.”

The Red Cross often reminds people that one unit of blood can save up to three lives. With Monday’s tally at 146 units, that means up to 438 lives could be saved with those donations. Of those donations, 33 were Power Red donations, which is a process that involves taking the red blood cells from a donor’s whole blood and returning their plasma and platelets. A centrifuge machine is used for this process that yields two units of blood per donor.

As a “thank you” to donors, people can receive a free Krispy Kreme doughnut at a participating location by showing their blood donor card with a donation sticker now through Jan. 31. Those who donate blood in February will receive a $10 Amazon gift card via email to use on Amazon.com.

Upcoming local blood drives include:

∫ noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 8, Trinity Lutheran Church, 3536 Eoff St., Wheeling;

∫ noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 22, Blake Brothers American Legion Post 46, 412 Water St., Benwood;

∫ noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church, 905 National Road, Wheeling;

∫ 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 18, Cabela’s, 1 Cabela Drive, Triadelphia;

∫ 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 23, Stifel Field House, 120 Leatherwood Lane, Wheeling;

∫ noon to 5:30 p.m. March 28, Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church, 905 National Road, Wheeling;

∫ 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 31, Disabled American Veterans, 3134 Guernsey St., Bellaire.

To find a drive and make an appointment, visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive or call 800-733-276.

According to the Red Cross, donors who want to shave about 15 minutes off their appointment can do their health questionnaire ahead of time by visiting www.RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App on their cellphones.

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