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Dexter, Chelsea Libraries Hold Blood Drives for American Red Cross

Officials with the Red Cross say blood donations are needed to help cover emergencies during the winter months.

The American Red Cross of Washtenaw County is teaming up with libraries in Dexter and Chelsea to host two blood drives during the holidays.

The will hold a blood drive from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday in the lower-level meeting rooms. The Red Cross will collect whole blood, which will be used to help individuals in southeast Michigan who need transfusions during surgeries, as a result of accidents or as a part of ongoing medical treatments, the library said in a press release.

"We're always in need of blood donations, especially during this time of the year," said Mark Huizenga, blood services coordinator for the Red Cross. "We typically see less donations now — not because people don't want to donate, but simply because it is not in the forefront of their mind during the holidays."

Huizenga said that luckily, there hasn't been a lot of harsh winter weather in the county, which often deters people from donating.

"Once we start seeing more snow and ice, we're really going to be relying on donations from communities like Chelsea and Dexter," he said.

Typically, each blood drive yields 25-30 pints, with 900 pints of blood needed each day in southeast Michigan, Huizenga said.

"Right now, we're low on type O-negative and Type A-negative blood, but we could use all types," he said.

While new donors are encouraged to drop in throughout the afternoon Friday, Huizenga said the Red Cross prefers to schedule appointments online or by phone in order to ensure it has enough nurses on hand to avoid long donor wait times.

Anyone 17 and older in good health is eligible to donate blood. For those donating blood for the first time, expect the process to take between 60-90 minutes, Huizenga said.

"The actual process of giving blood only takes 8-12 minutes, but everyone has to go through a mini health screening and answer some questions to determine their eligibility," Huizenga said.

For those who haven't made an appointment for today's drive in Dexter, another drive will take place at the Chelsea District Library from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday. Information on upcoming blood drives is also available online by visiting the Red Cross website at redcrossblood.org.

"Giving blood is a simple way to help out others who are in need during the holidays," Huizenga said.

Kristi Stanley Bishop December 30, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Word of caution: DO NOT make your appointment with the Red Cross callers if you want to donate at one of the drives away from the center. They do not communicate with the organizers. I was turned away from my appointment today because the Red Cross callers had double booked the drive. The organizers at the Dexter Community Library had NO record of any appointments. They had to turn away too many people. I hope this issue will be fixed soon. For some of us it is no small deal to arrange our personal lives to get there. I'm a bit soured on it right now.
Daniel Lai December 30, 2011 at 06:21 PM
That's too bad. Hopefully they coordinate this better in the future.
Paul McCann January 06, 2012 at 06:40 PM
On behalf of the Dexter District Library I do apologize to everyone who experienced a scheduling problem during the recent drive. Please note that the Dexter District Library provides the venue but all scheduling is handled by the Red Cross. The Library did provide the Red Cross with extensive feedback regarding the scheduling problems after the drive was complete. We hope the Red Cross will be able to correct these problems before the next drive.

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