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Give blood this summer

About the same time that most folks are thinking of heading to the beach or to the mountains for their summer vacations, the American Red Cross begins worrying about how it will provide the blood needed for those who have accidents along the way.
Each year, an annual and seasonal decline in blood and platelet donations takes place during the summer, according to Red Cross officials. With two of the organization’s largest donor groups — high school and college students — out of school for the summer, the Red Cross struggles each year with a drop in its stock of blood and blood products. Students account for up to 20 percent of the Red Cross’ donated blood in a year, so losing those donations makes for a big hole during the summer.
At the same time, summer can bring an increase in the number of traffic accidents and other trauma situations that result in emergency surgery and large transfusions of blood. Red Cross officials say they rely on volunteer donors for the 15,000 blood donations needed every day to support patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
With premature babies, trauma patients, cancer sufferers and routine surgery requiring it, America’s need for blood never stops. A trauma patient can need as much as 100 pints, and the average transfusion is about three pints. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, she added.
Suffolk residents can make a big difference during these upcoming blood drives the rest of the summer:
Hillcrest Baptist Church, 1637 Holland Road, 2 to 7 p.m. July 17
Southside Baptist Church, 917 Carolina Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 20
Accordius Health, 200 W. Constance Road, 2 to 6 p.m. July 22
Solenis, 2301 Wilroy Road, noon to 6 p.m. July 31
Sentara Obici Hospital, 2800 Godwin Blvd., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 13
First Baptist Church Suffolk, 237 N. Main St., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 24
Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd., 2 to 7 p.m. Aug. 27
Chick-fil-A, 1018 N. Main St., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 2
If you can’t make any of these blood drives, there are plenty happening in neighboring localities, and more may be added throughout the summer. For more information about other drives, as well as advice about giving blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org.