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Red Cross Blood Drive set in Emily

EMILY—The Red Cross Blood Drive is sponsoring the Lakers Lions of Emily, Outing and Fifty Lakes, from noon to 6 p.m. May 15 at Emily City Hall.

Donors and volunteers are needed. Red Cross staff will be available to help make the blood drive run smoothly.

Each year, the demand for blood increases by up to 8 percent, while annual blood donations increase 2 to 3 percent. Currently, only 5 percent of eligible blood donors actually donate. The blood supply is at a dangerously low point now following the flu season, resulting in blood donations being down. The Red Cross counts on blood drives and donations to ensure an adequate supply for patients at area hospitals as well as throughout the country.

To help ensure a sufficient blood supply, The Red Cross is asking those who can give to make an appointment to donate blood and change a life, starting with their own. Giving blood now will help rebuild the blood supply and will help to ensure enough blood is on hand for all patients in the weeks to come, the Red Cross reported.

Requirements to be a blood donor are at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and are in good health. Sixteen year olds are now allowed to donate with a parent or guardian's signature on the Red Cross permission form. Diabetics are accepted, even when on insulin. Most other medications are accepted as long as the donor is healthy. Donors who have been on antibiotics must be completed and symptoms resolved. Red Cross is using the appointment program for donors. Walk-ins are welcome and will be given the next available appointment. Fifty-six days between regular single unit blood donations and 112 days between double red cell donors are required, so anyone who donated at Emily's blood drive in January is also eligible to be a donor in May.

Donors who occasionally have low iron counts are reminded to improve their iron levels by either taking over the counter iron supplements and/or adding iron rich foods to their diets. Meat, fish and poultry are the best absorbed iron rich foods. Iron-fortified cereals, molasses, beans, raisins, baked potatoes, and breads and pasta made with iron-enriched flour are also encouraged to be eaten. Foods high in Vitamin C will help absorb the iron; while tea, coffee, bran and antacids block the absorption of iron.

The Emily area now hosts three bloodmobiles each year with this being the 76th drive during the past 30 years. It is open to anyone; all blood types are needed. Donors are invited to help recruit new donors. Blood donors who were previously deferred, may now be eligible for the Red Cross Reinstatement program. Previous deferred donors should call the Red Cross Reinstatement Center at 866-236-3276 for instructions.

To schedule an appointment or to volunteer to help at the blood drive, call Nancy Moritz at 218-763-3097 or Kathy Harvet at 218-792-5314.