AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - January is national blood donor month, but also a time when The Red Cross sees a decrease in donations.
The Red Cross is asking for the community's help to tackle a winter blood shortage. "I mean, it's been a terrible winter, you know. We had to close 155 blood donations center, which related to about 5,500 blood donations," says Don Cheeks, Chairman of the Red Cross Aiken Chapter.
Cheeks says the winter weather and cold and flu season contributed to over 28,000 fewer donations for just the months November and December alone. Right now, they're in dire need of platelets, plasma, type O negative, AB, and B negative blood.
They also urge donors to make a power red donation when that option is available. "Power red is when they go in and take the red blood cells and extract it out of the blood. And then they take the platelets and all that and put it back into the donor. So, it's a critical need," says Cheeks.
Every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood. It's important that when preparing to give, you're in good shape and without health complications. "Eat a good meal before you go and drink plenty of fluids. And we also, once you go in and you donate, we have juice and snacks and everything for you," says Cheeks.
He says simply carving a small window of time out of your day could save a life. "If you would just take one hour of your busy schedule. One day. One hour. And go and give the blood, I know the Red Cross would appreciate it and I know the family, the patients, and the hospital would be forever more grateful,' says Cheeks.
Cheeks says the only restrictions are that you must be 17 or 16 with parent's consent and must weigh at least 110 pounds.
The next donation opportunities will be:
- January 15, 2018 from 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. at 116 Midway Circle in Aiken
- January 24, 2018 from 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. at Aiken Mall/Bloodstock, 2441 Whiskey Road South