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Blood drives coming to Liberal, Plains, Thursday PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 September 2017 11:22

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By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times



There is always a need for blood, and in the next two weeks, area residents will have several opportunities to give blood, including one to honor everyday heroes.

Thursday, Sept. 28, the American Red Cross will host a Battle of the Badges Community Blood Drive from 11:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at Liberal’s Western Avenue Church of Christ.

That same day, blood donations will likewise be taken from noon to 6 p.m. at the Plains Community Center. Donors also have an opportunity to give from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 3 at Seward County Community College in Liberal.

Recent disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma may seem to have increased the demand for blood, but Jan Hale, communications manager for the American Red Cross’ Central Plains Region, said no direct requests for donations have been given because of the hurricanes.

Hale said the storms, though, still remind many that giving blood is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies that happen every day.

“We know that it’s the blood on the shelves that’s going to help during an emergency,” she said. “We would just urge people to remember donating blood is a great way for communities to stay prepared as well.”

Hale said many drives scheduled for areas affected by Irma have been cancelled for obvious reasons.

“We know the need remains the same, but in the past, when someone is involved in a disaster, the last thing that we want them to worry about is keeping their blood donation appointment,” she said.

Hale said another reason the drives were put off was due to fewer people coming because of what is happening with the hurricane. She said, though, this likely increases the burden for donors in other area.

“It is up to those of us in unaffected areas to make sure that we remember our regular blood donation appointments and our opportunities to help save a life,” she said. “We just encourage donors in other parts of the country that are unaffected to just give blood where they can to help ensure that the supply remains as robust as we need it to be.”

Hale said with recent drives in Southwest Kansas and publicity help, awareness of the importance of blood donations is increasing.

“I do think that people are beginning to see the giving blood when something like this happens as an opportunity to help,” she said. “We see that people think about it and know that this is one way. Yes I can donate money, but I can also roll up my sleeve and help save a life. I think we’re seeing more and more of that. People are remembering that blood donations can be important during these times, and it’s a way to help.”

Hale said with a difficult summer and a remaining need for blood, potential donors have gotten the message.

“I think people heard that, and maybe with the beginning of school and schedules back on track, they were able to make that time to donate,” she said. “When we see these large scale disasters, while we know that this blood is not going to go to Houston or probably not going to go to those affected by Irma, we know that someone that needs it is going to get blood, and it’s just a reminder of ‘Oh yeah. This is a way that I can help, help my home, help my home community or help where that blood is needed.’”

Many of the donors Red Cross sees at its blood drives are students, and with a new school year, youth donors are returning. This is part of what Hale called a cyclical pattern of blood donations.

“We do know we go through times where it’s more difficult for blood collection,” she said. “We’ve just come out of one during the summertime. History has taught us that the holidays, into the winter months is another difficult time for blood collection.”

Hale described the three upcoming blood drives as three opportunities to make a difference.

“We would really urge your readers to pick one of those if they’re eligible and help us during the fall,” she said.

Those who cannot donate at the upcoming drives can find other times to give blood.

“You can always go to redcrossblood.org and plug in your zip code, and it’ll pull up all those open to the public blood drives,” Hale said. “If there’s not one listed, that’s a great way to find out if there’s one in the area.”

As if making a difference isn’t enough encouragement to give blood, Hale gave those looking to donate an extra push to do so.

“People often say, ‘Does it hurt to give blood?’ and I always remind people it’s like a pinch in the crook of your arm,” she said. “What I try to remember is if I’m able to donate, I’m feeling pretty good that day. I’ve had my mini-health history. I’ve answered my question, and I’m feeling pretty good. The person on the other end of what I’m doing is in the crisis of a lifetime, and this is something that I can do for them that nobody else can do. I can provide my unit, my blood donation for them.”

Hale added a last encouragement by stating potential donors need to find someone who has been affected by a blood donation, something she feels is an easy task.

“If you don’t know someone who has been impacted by a blood donation, I think you just need to ask,” she said. “Ask at your church. Ask at your work. You will find people who can tell you, ‘Yes my mom or my dad received blood, and I was so grateful it was there when they needed it.’ That’s why we need people’s help – to make sure it is there when it is needed.”

To schedule an appointment for one of the upcoming drives, go online to www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Walk-ins are welcome, and 16-year-olds can donate with written consent.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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