As the anniversary of 9/11 nears, Americans remember in their own way how they felt upon learning of the terrorist attack. At the time, thousands rushed out to offer assistance and to give blood to save the lives of fellow injured and suffering Americans.

A crisis of this magnitude had never occurred before in the United States, but each day thousands of patients across the country are still depending on blood donations for survival.

According to Red Cross Senior Director Taunia Oechslin, one out of every 10 hospital patients will need blood.

When were healthy, its hard to imagine what its like to depend on blood transfusions to feel better,Oechslin said.

However, she reminds donors that every two seconds, someone needs blood and encourages those who are eligible to spend abut an hour of the time helping patients in need.

Now that the end of summer is near, Oechslin said that constantly low blood inventories are a concern. Currently, levels of almost all blood types are at a one-day supply.

Of particular concern is O negative blood, considered the universal donor, because it can be transfused to anyone in an emergency when there is no time to cross-match a patients blood.

Blood needs to be on the shelves in anticipation of need. To maintain at least a five-day supply of all blood types, the American Red Cross, Greater Alleghenies Region, must collect 1,095 units each weekday to meet minimum patient needs at more than 100 hospitals in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky.

Blood given by one person can save up to three lives,said Crystal Bennett, donor resources assistant at the Red Cross on Pineview Drive.If only one extra person would come to each of the drives in our region every day, in one month we would have 1,440 more blood products to save the lives of your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and maybe even you.

Because of the ongoing need for blood, Bennett says that its important for everyone to become a regular donor. Blood can be donated every 56 days.

We would like to encourage everyone to continue to donate blood on a regular basis to meet the needs of hospital patients,said Bennett.Blood cannot be manufactured, and there is no substitute for blood.

With red blood cells good for only 42 days, even a brief interruption in donations can have serious consequences, she added.

September American Red Cross Blood Drives at WVU :

  • Tuesday, Sept. 9, 12-6 p.m., Mountainlair Ballrooms, sponsored by the Office of Service Learning
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1-7 p.m., Lyon Tower, Gold Room, palm pilot raffle and tie-dyed t-shirts while they last
  • Wednesday, Sept. 17, 12-6 p.m., HSC , John Jones Conference Room, appointments only. Please call 598-4095. Tie-dyed t-shirts while they last.
  • Monday, Sept. 22, 1-7 p.m., Summit Suites
  • Thursday, Sept. 25, 1-7 p.m., Boreman Hall, Rec Room, gift box raffle

For more information, donors may call the American Red Cross, Greater Alleghenies Region, at 1-800-732-0383.