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Blood donations here Jan. 25-26 at Our Saviour’s help others in the region

The need for blood is ongoing, more so during the winter months, according to the American Red Cross.

Hastings residents can help replenish the blood supply at a community blood drive from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25; and from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 400 Ninth St. W.

The Hastings community has held blood drives throughout the year and has done so for a number of years.

The need is ongoing, according to Sue Thesenga, external communications manager for the American Red Cross, North Central Blood Service Center.

“Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood,” she said. “January is National Blood Donor Month and one of the most difficult times of the year to maintain a sufficient blood supply. Severe winter weather and seasonal illness often contribute to a seasonal decline in blood and platelet donations.”

She noted, on average, the Red Cross must collect 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospital and transfusion centers across the country.

All types of blood are needed, said Thesenga.

“The need is constant as donated blood is perishable,” she said.

Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets five days, so they must constantly be replenished. It’s the blood products on the shelves today that help save lives in emergencies.

All blood types are needed now. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type and this is especially important in an emergency situation.

After the blood is donated here in Hastings, it is transported to a Red Cross laboratory in the Twin Cities. There, the blood is separated into its different components and undergoes a variety of tests to ensure it is as safe as possible. After testing, the blood is shipped to a Red Cross distribution center. The blood is shipped where it is needed, when it is needed for patients who need it, according to Thesenga.

In the North Central Blood Services Region (Minnesota, western Wisconsin and eastern South Dakota), the Red Cross provides blood for patients at 108 hospitals. As a national network, the Red Cross has a unique responsibility to help ensure blood is available for patients whenever and wherever it is needed.

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer of sickle cell disease may all need blood.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required when the donor checks in. Individuals who are 17 years of age, 16 with parental consent in some states, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

To make an appointment for this month’s Hastings blood drive, call Gail at 651-248-1173, or 1-800-Red Cross, or go online at redcrossblood.org.

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