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Donors of all blood types needed to combat post-holiday shortage

January 08, 2001

Supplies of nearly all blood types are at critically to dangerously low levels in Imperial and San Diego counties. As of Friday, the San Diego Blood Bank had just three units of O negative, the universal blood type, and 41 units of O positive, the most common type on its shelves.

Anyone who can is urged to give Wednesday through Friday at Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, 207 W. Legion Road in Brawley. The donor center will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 1-7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until noon. Anyone who hasn't given since Nov. 15 is urged to give. Donors who gave Nov. 16 or 17 must wait until Jan. 11 or 12 to give again. First-time donors are always needed.

"We don't look forward to it but we expect these shortages after the first of the year because blood usage tends to increase over the holidays while donations dwindle because people are sick or they're just too busy to donate," said blood drive coordinator Trish Burich-McNeece. "Last year the shortage got so bad several patients in need of non-emergency blood transfusions had to wait several days for the blood to become available.

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"From past experience, I know though that people still seem to be in the giving mood in January and have always responded to our pleas for blood in the past. I'm counting on that being the case again this year. If someone's New Year's resolution was to do more to give back to their community, this is an excellent way to do that," said Burich-McNeece

Anyone age 17 or older who weighs at least 110 pounds and is in good health may be eligible to give. Burich-McNeece said some donors who had been permanently disqualified because of heart disease or some cancers may again be eligible. Those people should call or come by the blood drive to determine their eligibility. Also, anyone with active canker sores, fever blisters or those taking anti-fungal medications can now give.

All donors will receive the new koala bear T-shirt and will be entered into a drawing for a pair of ski lift tickets. For more information, call 353-3554.

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