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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

Red Cross pleads for blood donors

The American Red Cross Western Lake Erie Region yesterday issued a desperate call for blood donors, particularly those with O-negative blood, the universal blood type used in most hospital trauma situations.

Only three units of O-negative blood were available yesterday morning for the 23 area hospitals it ships to, the Red Cross said. O-positive and A-negative blood supplies also were at a half-day or less.

While donations typically slow down during the holidays, the Red Cross said this year has been "exceptionally brutal" and the region is 600 units of blood behind in collections.

"Our inventory will further shrink as we go into the New Year unless more individuals immediately take action and donate," said Kathy Smith, director of donor services for the region.

This morning, Toledo police Chief Mike Navarre and fire Chief Mike Bell are scheduled to give blood at 11 at the Red Cross Donor Center, 3510 Executive Pkwy., Toledo. Earlier this month, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and the chiefs helped kick off the Battle of the Badges campaign, which lasts through Jan. 7.

To donate blood, you must be 17 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in generally good health. You must present valid photo identification.

The region's Donor Center on Executive Parkway will be open today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and tomorrowfrom 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, mobile blood donations will be taken at various sites through Saturday.

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