You can help meet a critical medical need

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We take a lot for granted in the United States -- and McCook, Nebraska, in particular.

One of the most important is a quick response when we call 911. In town, especially, but even in the countryside, we know emergency crews, both paid and volunteer, will do everything they can to get us the help we need as quickly as possible.

And when we arrive at the hospital, we know there will be a trained medical staff waiting, with all the training, equipment and supplies they need to care for us.

Perhaps we shouldn't be so confident.

One of the most important things many of us need when we arrive at a hospital, whether because of an accident or for surgery, is blood.

Blood donations are always low during the summer time, when many of us are busy with vacations or other activities, but this year is especially critical, according to the American Red Cross.

That's because we're part of the region that includes eastern Nebraska and Iowa, where flooding and storms have prevented many blood drives from being conducted, and many donors from giving.

You can help. The next community blood drive is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and from noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the community building at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds.

People as young as 16 can donate with parental permission, and anyone 17 and over can donate You must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated whole blood in the last eight weeks or 56 days, or double red cells in the last 16 weeks (112 days). "Healthy" means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, "healthy" also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.

Contact Cathy Carman at (308) 345-4473 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome and you'll get a free T-shirt for offering to donate.

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