Local blood banks urge people to donate; special need for minority donors

 Local blood banks urge people to donate; special need for minority donors
MGN Online

POSTED: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 12:59pm

UPDATED: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 1:07pm

 There’s a major blood shortage in Louisiana, and it’s only partly due to the recent weather conditions.

“Before the weather came, though, we were already at a short supply because of so much sickness in the area. We have a high usage right now, and of course, a low blood supply,” said Bridget Loland of United Blood Services.

United Blood Services has a clinic in Baton Rouge that will be open all weekend. They are even staying open late on Monday and Tuesday in case anyone wants to donate after work.

You can reach United Blood Services at 769-7233.

Remington College in Baton Rouge is also hosting a special blood drive on Feb. 13.

Their “3 Lives Blood Drive” is part of a national effort held in partnership with America's Blood Centers and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. The goal is to recruit minority blood donors and help supply local hospitals with blood.

It’s called “3 Lives” because one pint of blood can save as many as three lives.

Although everyone is encouraged to donate at the “3 Lives Blood Drive,” the special need for minority donors comes from the fact that people have different antigens in their blood, which varies by ethnicity.

According to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, African American donors provide blood with unique antigens that are vital for people with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. 

The need for blood in the U.S. is high across the board. About every two seconds, someone needs blood, but only 5 percent of eligible blood donors regularly donate.

All the blood collected from these drives goes to local hospitals. You can learn more on the Remington College website

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