After Sept. 11 volunteers flocked to blood centers to donate blood, but since then the blood supply has been drying up. And the situation gets worse in the summer because many regular donors are on vacation.
Dr. Frank Rumph, Georgia's East Central Health Center director, reminds Central Savannah River Area residents, "We need to ensure safe blood is available wherever and whenever it is needed." Blood banks here and around the nation are perilously low.
Rumph also stresses that the war on terrorism's homeland security recommendations call for maintaining at least a seven to 10 day blood supply - enough for the immediate needs of 50,000 critically ill patients. The demand for red blood cells is up by 3 percent and is expected to grow.
Now more than ever, blood centers need to see the kind of support they got in the wake of Sept. 11. Persons 17 and older with healthy blood can donate every 56 days, says Rumph, as long as they weigh 110 pounds or more.
To make an appointment log onto GiveLife.org or call 800-GIVE-LIFE or get in touch with one of the Shepeard Blood Centers in Augusta, Martinez or Aiken, or call your local chapter of the American Red Cross.