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Red Cross in need of more blood donors

An ENC resident donates blood for the Red Cross on Jan. 9. (Ashley Boles, NewsChannel 12 photo)

The American Red Cross is constantly in need of blood donors. In our area alone, they need 349 units daily to keep up with the demand from hospital partners, but the winter weather is making meeting that number difficult.

"Hospitals contact us and say hey we need blood you know we can't say well there was a thunder storm outside or there's severe weather," American Red Cross representative Bernadette Jay said.

The icy roads following the winter storm in Eastern North Carolina last week have left a shortage in our area.

"There were hundreds of blood drives that were cancelled, thousands of units, plateletts, whole blood, blood products that were left uncollected because of the snowstorm," Jay said.

After the storm put donations on pause, regular donors are finally able to give again.

"I know there's a need for blood so I think my donation is probably helpful," donor Andrew Nielson said.

Nielson donates blood almost every two weeks -- a big help for those in need.

"My grandmother had knee surgery and hospital staff came into the room and she was just not herself," Jay said. "They said she's gonna need blood and we were like yeah whatever she needs, let's get that started."

Though donors are finally able to roll up their sleeves again, the schedule in our area still has a lot of gaps. Whether you make an appointment or not, there's always room for walk-ins.

"If you're in need of blood it should be there," Jay said.

That's not always the case, but the Red Cross is doing everything they can to get people in the door.

"It's a small contribution to the community and doesn't require a whole lot of talent to bleed," Nielson said.

Donating blood can be scary, but Red Cross representatives want donors to think about it in another way.

"Imagine the person whose receiving that blood transfusion -- that person -- can you imagine how many times they've been poked with a needle or prodded," Jay said. "So a little bit of that discomfort can't compare to knowing that you saved someone's life or allowed them to spend another year with their family."

To learn more about the Red Cross and how you can help, visit their website here.

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