Letter to the Editor

Please give blood

Thursday, October 9, 2008

As a Red Cross volunteer and Chairman of the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Region, I would like your readers to be aware of the effect that the recent hurricanes and severe weather here have had on our blood supply.

With incredible devastation and power outages widespread in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Hanna, blood supplies that were already low in many parts of the country continued to drop. Many blood drives have been cancelled, causing a shortfall in the blood inventory that could have a prolonged effect on patients in need.

The limited supply of gas in hard hit communities has created challenges for both bloodmobile vehicles and those community members who would otherwise travel to a donation location. In addition, many otherwise willing blood donors have been unable to keep appointments due to weather-related damage and power outages.

And, it is not just weather that creates large scale need. The train accident in Los Angeles also had an impact on blood supplies in that area of the country. The local blood region shipped nearly 400 units of blood and blood products to area hospitals to support the victims of the train crash.

Eligible blood donors who wish to help are encouraged to make an appointment in the days and weeks ahead. The only way to ensure the availability of blood is for donors to respond every day. Our local region distributes an average of 500 units daily to more than 50 area hospitals. Your blood donation will help ensure the Red Cross is ready to serve the needs of patients whenever and wherever it is needed. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit givelife.org to schedule an appointment.

Please give today.

Walt Coleman

Coleman Dairy

American Red Cross

Blood Service Chairman