Giving Blood

This winter has hit the Mid-Ohio Valley hard. Everywhere can be heard grumbles of “This is the worst winter in 20 years!” and “I’m so sick of the snow.”

But while local residents know all too well the toll this severe weather has taken on their own lives, it may not be so obvious the toll it has taken on local agencies, like the Red Cross, and those they serve.

Blood drives across the country have been canceled over the past couple of months – 1,500 since Jan. 1. That means the blood supply may be getting low. In fact, it is only because “We have been very lucky,” according to Cheryl L. Gergely, that reserves remain adequate.

Gergely, supervisor of communications for the Greater Alleghenies Region of the American Red Cross, says this has been the worst winter in her memory, in terms of blood-drive cancellations. Across the country, those cancellations mean there has been a loss of 50,000 units of blood and blood products.

As always, blood of all types is needed, though O, A and B negative are in high demand. While not everyone is qualified to fill potholes or repair bent rims, a great many people are qualified to help undo one part of the damage this winter has inflicted.

Anyone 17 or older, weighing at least 110 pounds, in general good health, and who has not donated in the past 56 days, can make a difference.

Here in Parkersburg, the Keystone Donor Center, at 3210 Dudley Ave., is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday. Anyone willing to help should call 304-865-0881 for more information. It might make the difference for a patient in a local emergency room. You never know who you could save.