Red Cross still needs 2,500 units of blood


Despite a solid response to its call for donors last week, the American Red Cross said yesterday that it still needs 2,500 blood donors in the Baltimore-Washington area to prevent a community health crisis in the days leading up to New Year's.

Some 1,500 donors came forward after the Red Cross last week said a shortfall had left it dangerously close to reaching a point where it might be unable to supply local hospitals with blood.

"The community has definitely responded," Leni Uddyback, a spokeswoman for the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region, said yesterday. "Every time we go to the community and ask them to respond they do so. But we still need another 2,500 units."

Donations typically fall off during the weeks close to Christmas and New Year's, and this year was no exception. But the high level of giving that usually follows Labor Day didn't materialize this year, Ms. Uddyback said, leaving the region without enough reserve to tide it over through the holidays. The problem is a national one, which has made it difficult for the region to import blood from other Red Cross blood banks.

Anyone who is at least 17 years old, weighs at least 110 pounds and is healthy may be eligible to donate blood. This week, there will be blood drives scheduled and donor centers open through Thursday.

For information on times and locations, call 1-800-GIVE-BLOOD.

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