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Important blood drive set for Friday

If you have Type O blood, then you can help meet a great need. The American Red Cross is observing a “Blood Watch” in an effort to spread awareness of the current blood shortage.

The Red Cross is calling upon all eligible donors to help make sure a safe and stable blood supply is available over the coming weeks. The most critical need is for donors with Type O blood, as Type O makes up more than half of the total blood requested by local hospitals.

A blood drive will be held Friday, Jan. 30 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Clanton Wal-Mart Supercenter. The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in the store’s parking lot.

“When you give blood, you truly become a lifesaver,” Red Cross Director Betty Byrd said. “Every two seconds, someone, whether a neighbor, family member or complete stranger, needs blood in order to continue living.”

The blood types that are most needed are O Positive, O Negative and B Negative.

Because O Negative is consider “universal donor” blood, it can be used to treat trauma patients in an emergency when time is of the essence and the patient’s blood type is unknown.

O Positive is the most common type, and can be transfused into patients with positive blood types.

B Negative is a rare type that is needed because there is little time for B Negative donors to respond in a time of emergency.

“If you cannot donate, please ask someone to donate in your place,” Byrd said. “Remember, when you give blood, you give life.”

In order to give blood, you must be at least 17, weight at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. Photo ID is required.

For more information, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit www.redcrossblood.org or www.givebloodsavelives.org.