April 23 05:04 AM
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Locals responded to critical shortage by donating blood

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the American Red Cross, and the hospitals and patients it serves, thank you for your support in spreading the word about the need for blood donations.

The blood supply belongs to the community, and media outlets are a strong partner in informing the public when that supply is critically low.

Late this September the Great Lakes Region issued an urgent media appeal related to a critical blood shortage. Red Cross inventories had declined to dangerously low levels. Blood was being sent to hospitals immediately after it was processed, tested and released. This revolving door scenario prevented building up the blood supply to safer levels.

Because of the media's help in communicating this serious situation, the public responded; and we learned once again that Michigan is indeed a caring community.

We are grateful to receive strong support during these critical times. The Great Lakes Region will continue our work to rebuild the blood supply through rigorous recruitment efforts, and through the support of countless groups and individuals who share a commitment to our life-saving mission.

The Red Cross tries to ensure that there is a three- to five-day supply of each blood type in order to prepare for any kind of emergency. Even with the recent outpouring of support, inventory levels are still below the minimum inventory standard of a three-day supply in seven of the eight types.

The recent jump in donations has helped add stability to the blood inventory, but the usage of blood products continues to increase. It is essential to encourage regular and consistent blood donations to help ensure a safe and stable blood supply.

Again, thank you for supporting the American Red Cross by encouraging all who can to give the "Gift of Life." Together, we can ensure that when blood is needed, it is there.

For information on open blood drives, please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE, or visit the Great Lakes Region's Web site at Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in general good health.

Jeb Caudill, American Red Cross, Great Lakes Region
October 31, 2007

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