The Garden City Telegram
11/5/2012
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Storm strike

Blood donation one way to help in wake of storm.

As East Coast communities smacked by the monster Superstorm Sandy worked to recover, fallout from the storm promised to stretch across the nation in a number of ways.

Sandy was devastating, leaving more than 100 people dead and many more injured. The storm left millions without power and tremendous property damage in its wake.

Red Cross and other emergency responders wasted no time in heading from places throughout the country to the storm-ravaged area to offer assistance. Southwest Kansas responders affiliated with the Garden City Area Chapter of the American Red Cross were among those dispatched to the scene of the disaster.

At the same time, representatives of the Red Cross here and beyond made a call for another form of assistance: blood donations.

The hurricane reportedly forced cancellation of more than 325 American Red Cross blood drives in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The shortfall of life-saving blood donations needed by cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, accident victims and others hurt even more at a time many regions already run the risk of not being able to meet demand.

Because of that, all eligible blood donors were urged to give blood or platelets as soon as possible. Every blood type is needed to ensure an adequate blood supply is available during a disaster.

Of course, there are many other avenues available to assist people victimized by the storm, to include making financial donations via the Red Cross.

Count the willingness to help replenish the nation's blood supply as another generous way to help others in need throughout the nation.

Giving blood is safe and easy. Donors only need to be at least 17 years old (16-year-olds may donate with parental permission), 110 pounds or more and in good health.

Red Cross officials have said the No. 1 reason given by first-time donors for not donating blood before is they hadn't been asked.

Consider the recent storm disaster yet another call for help. By rolling up their sleeves to give the precious gift of life, Americans from coast to coast can make a difference.