Blood donors have signed up in droves to bolster the nation's blood supply since last week's terrorist attacks against the United States.
Because of this outpouring of support, the transfusion needs of disaster victims are being met, as are the needs of patients in hospitals served by the American Red Cross in the upper Midwest and elsewhere, according to the Red Cross. North Central Blood Services, based in St. Paul, has sent 1,000 units of blood to the East Coast to be used in hospitals treating victims of the recent terrorist attacks.
People who are hoping to donate blood at the Brainerd Armory next week should be aware that the Red Cross is not accepting any walk-in donors.
Simply put, you need to make an appointment, said Dee Severson, Red Cross bloodmobile coordinator in Brainerd.
In the past, Severson said donors without appointments were accepted but this time they will need to make an appointment or they will be turned away at the door.
Brainerd Armory blood drive organizers are hoping to get 952 donors in the door during next week's drive with 700 units of blood donated. For several different reasons many donors are not allowed to give blood. Most of the time, it is because they have low iron in their blood.
Severson said donors should try to bulk up this week on iron-rich foods so they are able to give blood. Iron-rich foods include meat, fish, poultry, rice and baked potatoes. Even adding a couple extra servings of iron-fortified cereals or spinach to your diet starting today can boost iron levels in your blood, she said.
Most people who are in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and are at least 17 years of age are eligible to give blood every 56 days.
New donor restrictions by the Red Cross are now in place as of Monday. The new restrictions are aimed at concerns about the spread of the variant Creutzfelt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of "mad cow" disease. Because of the recent spread of this disease in Europe and the absence of a blood test to detect it, the Red Cross is extending its restrictions until a test is available.
Anyone who has lived or visited the United Kingdom for a cumulative total of three months since 1980 or anyone who has lived or visited any European country or combination of countries including the United Kingdom for a cumulative total of six months since 1980 or anyone who has received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom since 1980 is unable to donate blood.
Blood drives will be held in the following communities: 1-7 p.m. Sept. 24-26 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Brainerd Armory; 1-7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Pine River-Backus High School in Pine River; noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at Emily City Hall; noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa; noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Pequot Lakes School library; and noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 4 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Aitkin.
There are still openings for those who wish to donate blood next week at the Brainerd Armory and other locations throughout the Brainerd lakes area. To make an appointment to donate blood at the Brainerd Armory, call Dee Severson at 829-3485. To call the day of the bloodmobile drives to check if there is an opening that day, call Severson at 839-0030.
To make donation appointments at locations other than Brainerd, call the Red Cross at 651-291-4607 or 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
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