Giving blood

Monday, April 12, 2004

There's never a season when blood donations aren't needed by area hospitals and surgery centers.

The American Red Cross recently opened a new blood donation center at 20 S. Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau. The center will serve as a central location for regular blood drives.

There still will be mobile drives at area schools and businesses, where larger amounts of whole blood are collected. But the center allows smaller groups to hold blood drives because mobile units aren't feasible unless 25 or 30 units of blood can be collected.

The new building also triples the amount of storage and office space the blood services division had. All other services of the American Red Cross are still located at the office on Myra Drive.

Because the need for blood continues to increase, more space was necessary. In the past year, the need for blood increased by nearly 9 percent but donor supplies only rose by half that amount. Opening a donation center in such a highly visible location could encourage more people to donate regularly.

Starting in July, the center will be open for walk-in donations and will schedule appointments for donors who want to give platelets or red blood cells. New machines that store donor information make the process simple.

And new donors are always needed since the American Red Cross supplies half the nation's blood to hospitals. In Southeast Missouri, more than 25 hospitals receive blood from the Red Cross. Almost one-fifth of the blood collected in the Missouri-Illinois region is used in Southeast Missouri.

Consider supporting the Red Cross by donating blood.

Visit www.americanredcrossblood.org to find out about blood drives scheduled in your community.

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