Blood supplies low after Fran cancels drives


The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Red Cross Center, saying its inventory of blood supplies has been depleted by the cancellation of many blood drives because of Tropical Storm Fran, is urgently asking for blood donations.

"We're recruiting donors by mail and telephone," said Pat Lakatta, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross. "We're asking people who have donated with us in the past to give one more time because we simply don't have the inventory we need."

The center also is appealing to people to become first-time donors and is asking businesses to sponsor blood drives, she said.

Blood donations, which traditionally are slow during summer because of vacations, usually pick up in September. But the situation may be different this year, Lakatta said, because of Tropical Storm Fran, which caused several blood drives to be canceled last week.

"We lost the opportunity to collect 400 units of blood on Friday and Saturday due to the severe weather," Lakatta said. "And right now we don't have the resources available to import units [pints] into our area from our sister sites in D.C. and Virginia, because they were hardest hit by the storm and are in desperate need themselves."

The Greater Chesapeake region covers Maryland, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and southern Pennsylvania. Donors in the Central Maryland area may walk into any of six Red Cross donor centers in the area, but the Red Cross asks that they call (800) GIVE BLOOD first to make appointments. It takes 45 minutes to donate a pint of whole blood, the center said.

Donors must be in good health, age 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Pub Date: 9/12/96

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