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Red Cross needs Wauneta area residents to roll up their sleeves PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 26 July 2012 15:58

Janet Keiser (left) and Lana Skelton are co-chairs of Wauneta’s Bloodmobiles. They and the Red Cross need help from Wauneta residents. The Red Cross has a critical need for blood donors right now and the Wauneta Bloodmobile needs cash donations to keep things going locally.

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze

The Red Cross has a critical need for blood donors right now and Wauneta Bloodmobile co-chairs Janet Keiser and Lana Skelton are asking Wauneta area residents to help fill the void.

With extreme heat keeping some donors at home and severe storms forcing the cancellation of dozens of blood drives earlier in the month, the American Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for donors of all blood types.

In fact, Red Cross blood donations are at the lowest they have been in 15 years. Public support from the organization’s late-June appeal helped temporarily stop a decline in the blood supply. However, the mid-week Independence Day and extreme summer weather have contributed to a decrease in donations lately.

Waunetans are notoriously generous. In the past 5 years (2007–2011), the Wauneta blood drives have helped the Red Cross collect 408 pints of blood. While these donations are helping fill the need for donated blood, the Red Cross needs more blood donors.

“We used to have over 100 donors at each blood mobile, now we have an average of 27,” said Skelton. “We need more Wauneta area residents to roll up their sleeves.”

The next Wauneta Bloodmobile will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. MT. This is a change from their previous schedule. Keiser and Skelton would like input from residents about these new hours.

Keiser emphasized that Wauneta area residents are fortunate to have a bloodmobile right here in town. “The Red Cross sends six employees to Wauneta for each blood drive. After they report to work in North Platte, travel to Wauneta, set up for one to two hours, draw for six hours, clean up for one to two hours and then drive back to North makes for a long day,” she said.


Red Cross need critical

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion according to Red Cross officials. Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies–when there are complications during childbirth–and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

“Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Of that, the Midwest Blood Services Region must collect approximately 500 pints per day,” said Tricia Quinn, CEO of the American Red Cross Midwest Blood Services Region, serving Nebraska, western Iowa and parts of Colorado and Kansas.

“We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met. Each pint of whole blood can help save more than one life,” she said.

“There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren’t readily available or, in a worst case scenario, have to forego a more serious procedure because of a shortage of blood.” Quinn added. “Our goal is to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

The Red Cross reports that 10.9 percent of the population in the Midwest Region donates blood compared to a four percent national average. Plus, 59 percent of Midwest donors return to donate each year compared to a 44 percent national average.


Contribute to Wauneta’s Bloodmobile

The American Legion has been very generous to donate the space needed to hold blood drives in Wauneta. But, it takes more than just space to have the drives here in town.

Keiser and Skelton need the community’s help to raise the $400 per year that is needed to provide blood donors with food and refreshments after they give blood.

According to Skelton, they need between $70 and $80 in food and paper supplies each time the blood mobile is held. The co-chairs would also like to be able to give the American Legion some money to help cover utilities used during the event.

“Giving a cash donation to the bloodmobile is a great way for people to help if they can’t give blood,” said Skelton.

Cash donations can be sent to Keiser at 33892 Road 724, Wauneta, NE 69045, to Skelton at 73896 Avenue 348, Wauneta, NE 69045 or donations can be dropped off at the Breeze office.

Keiser added that volunteers to help staff the bloodmobile are also needed. A minimum of four volunteers, plus help to unload and load Red Cross equipment are needed at each event. Those wishing to volunteer at the blood drives can call Keiser at 394-5191 or Skelton at 394-5280.


How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or Wauneta residents can call Lana Skelton at 394-5280. Donors can also visit to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors, 18 years of age and younger, also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.