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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2007

Red Cross blood supply recovering, but need remains

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Supplies of the so-called universal blood type are steadily building this month after being completely depleted.

But with the Fourth of July holiday approaching, local American Red Cross officials continue seeking donors to avoid another emergency shortage.

The local Red Cross has about a day's supply of both O negative, which was depleted a few weeks ago and is used after traumas when there isn't time to determine blood type, and O positive.

Plus, the supply of A negative is low at about a day and a half, said Annie Marckel, spokesman for the Western Lake Erie Region of American Red Cross Blood Services.

"It's definitely not in an 'emergency' need, but it's definitely in need," she said of the blood types. "Definitely, without a doubt."

Blood donors have responded to the Red Cross' pleas for help - including more than 100 first-time participants last week - and the added lure of having a chance to win a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt donated by Dave White Chevrolet in Sylvania, Ms. Marckel said.

The $14,000 car will be given away Sept. 8.

The Fourth of July holiday, however, perennially puts pressure on the local blood supply, with the local Red Cross the last few years declaring emergency shortages soon after the holiday, Ms. Marckel said.

Vehicle, boating, fireworks, and other accidents over the holiday help deplete blood supplies, especially for O negative, she said.

"We're trying to get our blood supply at a healthy level during that," Ms. Marckel said.

One of the summer's biggest blood drives, the annual 13abc All-American Blood Drive, will be held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the University of Toledo's Savage Hall.

That campaign will continue daily at the Red Cross Donor Center, 3510 Executive Pkwy., until July 7.

The region supplies 23 hospitals in 11 northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan counties. It also helps out other Red Cross regions facing shortages, if possible, Ms. Marckel said.

Even when not at emergency levels, local supplies of both O negative and O positive have each been running at about a day for the last several months, which is manageable but far below the desired three-day inventory, Ms. Marckel said.

"It's important for us to have a three-day supply and we push that as much as possible, but it just doesn't happen," she said.

For information about donor center hours and community blood drives, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or log onto the www.givebloodtoday.org Web site.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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