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An Echo Press Editorial: An easy way to save a life

Got blood?

Please sign up to be a donor — right now.

The need is great. Although thousands of people responded to the American Red Cross' emergency call for blood and platelet donations in early July, there's still continues to be a severe shortage of all blood types — especially type O.

Red Cross blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and right now there is less than a five-day blood supply on hand, according to Red Cross leaders.

The Red Cross strives to keep a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products.

"Patients don't get a summer break from the need for lifesaving treatments, so it is critical that hospitals have access to blood products each and every day," said Sue Thesenga, communications manager of the North Central Blood Services Region. "We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives, but the emergency need remains. Those who haven't rolled up a sleeve to give are urged to do so today."

Thesenga said there's a particular need for type O blood, which plays an important role in ongoing patient care and emergencies. Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be given to patients with any Rh-positive blood type. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be given to any patient. It's what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations, Thesenga said.

Here's a little extra incentive for giving blood: All those who donate blood or platelets July 30 through Aug. 30, 2018, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)

Donors of all blood types are urged to make an appointment to give now using the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Here in Douglas County, there are four opportunities to give blood in the next couple of weeks:

• August 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cornerstone Church, 202 7th Ave. E., Alexandria.

• August 7, noon to 6 p.m. at the Village Hall in Brandon.

• August 12, 1 to 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 605 Douglas Ave., Alexandria.

• August 14, noon to 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 605 Douglas Ave., Alexandria.

Make an appointment today, whether you're a first-time donor or someone who has answered the call many times in the past. It's one of the easiest things you can do to save a life.

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