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Blood needed especially during the holidays

November 02, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The regularly scheduled blood drives at Waynesboro's Joe Stickell American Legion Post 15 draw about 220 people, American Red Cross donor resources representative Joe Stringent said.

"It's one of the most productive drives we have," said Stringent, who is based in Johnstown, Pa.

He described the Waynesboro blood drives as community gatherings.

His office services 100 counties in six states, including the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, Fulton County, Pa., and Washington County, Md.

The office needs 1,000 units of blood a day for area hospitals, Stringent said. It also sends stock to regions in times of disaster, he said, noting that California residents weren't donating during recent wildfires.

The end of the year tends to be challenging for the blood supply, according to Stringent and Tom Reardon, executive director of the Franklin County, Pa., chapter of the American Red Cross.

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"The holidays seem to be a time when there's less turnout to blood drives," Reardon said.

Blood can only be stored for four days, he said.

Stringent said half of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood.

Only 5 percent of that half actually do, he said.

The Red Cross encourages donors to eat a good breakfast, avoid caffeine and drink extra water before giving blood.

Donors can expect to register and read a statement when first arriving at a blood drive, Reardon said.

They'll then be asked a series of questions about their health and travel, Reardon said.

The entire process takes about 45 minutes to an hour, he said.

To obtain a schedule of blood drives near you, visit www.redcross.org or call the nearest Red Cross office.

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