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Red Cross tries to cope with blood shortage

December 27, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Eastern Panhandle chapters of the American Red Cross are holding blood drives during the holiday season to help ease a critical nationwide shortage of blood.

"We got hit pretty hard with some of the disasters we had over the summer, especially Hurricane Floyd," said Vicque Charrette, a spokeswoman for City Hospital.

When a disaster that immense happens there is a domino effect, affecting the blood supply everywhere, she said. Floyd ravaged the East Coast from North Carolina northward in mid-September.

City Hospital will hold its regularly scheduled blood drive for the American Red Cross on Friday, New Year's Eve, in the eighth-floor classroom between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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It is usually tough to get donors this time of year because people are busy with the holidays, can't make it to donation sites because of bad weather or can't donate blood because of the flu or cold, Charrette said.

There also is a general decline in blood donors, said Nancy Peters, blood services chairwoman for the Morgan County chapter of the American Red Cross.

"Fewer people are giving blood all the time and the need is growing all the time," Peters said.

Peters said many of the county's blood donors are in their 70s.

The Red Cross chapter goes to Berkeley Springs High School twice a year to encourage youngsters to become blood donors, she said.

The Jan. 5 blood drive at the Berkeley Springs American Legion post is a special one mainly for donors of type-O - the universal blood type - because it is needed more than the others, Peters said. The blood drive will be held between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Peters said the Morgan County chapter provides three kinds of soups, three kinds of sandwiches, drinks and an assortment of cookies for donors.

Donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 105 pounds, she said.

One pint of blood can save three or four people, Peters said.

At City Hospital, blood donors will be given refreshments and a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the Martinsburg Mall, Charrette said.

"We're really kind of hoping people will come out for this," Charrette said.

In Jefferson County, the blood drive will be held Jan. 3 between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Lions Center in Ranson, W.Va.

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