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Blood drives planned to beef up local inventories

December 09, 2001

Imperial Valley Blood Services, along with Valley Independent Bank, El Centro Regional Medical Center and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District in Brawley, is getting geared up for the long holidays with a series of blood drives planned to help shore up inventories of blood and blood products.

Beginning Tuesday, VIB, El Centro Regional and Pioneers are sponsoring the sixth annual Chargers blood drives at each of VIB's four Imperial Valley locations. All drives will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The bloodmobile will be at the VIB Calexico branch Tuesday and in Holtville Wednesday. Two bloodmobiles will be at VIB's El Centro branch Thursday and Northend residents can give at the Brawley branch Friday. Each donors will receive a long-sleeved Chargers/American flag T-shirt.

Blood supplies this time of year often fall to dangerously low levels when blood usage increases while donations decrease, said blood drive coordinator Trish Burich-McNeece.

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"Donating blood gets pushed to a lower priority on peoples' things to do lists because everyone is so busy getting ready for the holidays," said Burich-McNeece. "Donations also decline because this is the cold and flu season.

"It's not just a local problem but a problem nationwide," she added.

Burich-McNeece said there has been a decrease in donations in the months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We had to ask people to wait then because we had too much blood coming in," she said. "We could really use those people now because there are patients right here in this community who need blood daily."

Everyone who gave immediately following the attacks is eligible to give again.

"I know the Chargers haven't had a banner year but the need for blood is always there so I hope people will turn out to support their communities and the patients who inevitably will need blood," Burich-McNeece said. "There is no substitute for human blood at this time so we have to rely on healthy members of the community to give so it will be there for those who need it."

All blood types are needed but people with O-positive and O-negative blood especially are encouraged to donate. Potential donors should be 17, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and must not have donated anywhere in the last 56 days.

For more information, call 353-3554.

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