Organizers of the American Red Cross blood drive are hoping for more donors as they prepare for this week's drive at Fort Scott Community College.
The Red Cross will conduct a blood drive today and Friday in the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center on the FSCC campus, 2108 S. Horton. Hours will be 12:45 to 7 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
Drive chairwoman Ruth Waring said all blood types are currently needed. The goal is to collect 125 units of blood during the two-day drive -- 84 units today and 41 on Friday. In recent years, the goals for each drive have nearly been met, but numbers of donors has been way down at recent local drives, especially during the second day of the drive, which "is always slower," Waring said.
"For the last few years we've come pretty close but not met our goal," she said. "In December, the attendance was worse than worse."
Waring said she didn't know exactly how many units of blood were collected at the last local blood drive, which was held last December at Buck Run Community Center.
Waring said she is not sure why blood donations are down lately but has heard that "it's a problem all over the state, not just here." A majority of donations at the local drives are made by appointment, but "we do get a lot of walk-ins," Waring said.
"A lot of people aren't getting calls to remind them of their appointments," she said.
Like the emergency room of a hospital, the American Red Cross must be prepared to respond to patient emergencies with blood products 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Through the dedication of blood donors, the Red Cross can be prepared day in and day out, no matter when or where blood is needed, a news release said.
"Every minute there's somebody somewhere needing blood," Waring said. "Blood is needed everyday, 365 days a year."
All donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, Waring said.
Donated blood goes where it is needed in the Central Plains Region, which covers most of Kansas and a small portion of northern Oklahoma. Blood is supplied to Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott.
A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states, including Kansas), 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.
The only way to provide lifesaving blood and platelets for patients in need is through the generosity of donors, who can help the Red Cross maintain a stable blood supply by making an appointment to donate at www.redcrossblood.org, or by calling (800) 733-2767.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families, the release said.
The organization must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood each day to meet the needs of patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, the release said.