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Red Cross Makes Emergency Appeal for Donations with Blood Supply at 15-Year Low

By Rhonda Miller | Published 08 Aug 2012 08:03pm | comments
Red Cross phlebotomist Renate Joseph of Mobile, right, takes a donation of blood from Belinda LaFrance of Ocean Springs.

The American Red Cross says the national blood supply is at a 15-year-low. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports Mississippi is not getting the supply it needs from other parts of the country.

"..promesa... con Dios…"

That’s Shirley Cox sitting in the recliner chair with her sleeve rolled up at the bloodmobile in Ocean Springs Wednesday. Her husband Michael Cox came along.

"She said she’s donating to help people. She made a promise with God that she would help people by donating her blood."

Red Cross phlebotomist Renate Joseph of Mobile is ready for the next donor.

"We’re just getting started, but so far, we’ve had several people come in…"

It’s a good thing there’s a slow but steady stream of donors. Red Cross spokesman in Mobile Evan Duffy says the national shortage means the back-up supply is gone.

"In the Alabama and Central Gulf Coast region, we never collect enough blood to meet our regional demand. So we routinely have to import units of blood and blood products from other regions that over-collect."

The Red Cross region that covers South Mississippi, Alabama and part of the Florida Panhandle usually imports a thousand pints of blood a month to keep an adequate supply for hospitals. 

In the bloodmobile in Ocean Springs, Belinda LaFrance is taking her lunch hour to donate blood for one simple reason.

"Because somebody out there may need my blood." "Have you given before?" "I give every year." "How many years have you been doing that?"  "Probably about 10 or 15."

Summer is typically a time when blood donations are low because high school and college students, and other regular donors, are busy with other activities. In Mississippi, families pre-occupied with hurricane season and the early back-to-school schedule can also reduce the number of donors.

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Red Cross phlebotomist Renate Joseph of Mobile, right, takes a donation of blood from Belinda LaFrance of Ocean Springs.


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