Time to Roll Up Your Sleeves! Summer Blood Shortage Worries Red Cross

June 23, 2004 -- Posted at 9:09 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- It's summer, and that means local blood banks are in a crisis. The blood shortage is affecting everything from the blood supply to scheduled operations. There are lots of blood drives that go on year round, but it's the ones that happen over the summer that are the most important.

You may not remember Tim Rook, but you can't forget his story. He's the Jonesboro firefighter who lost his leg after the fire truck he was in hit a tanker truck. While he was in the hospital, he learned how important the American Red Cross is, first hand.

"I received 17 units, so I need 17 people to give back, just to take care of my needs," said Rook.

This weekend is the Hoses and Badges blood drive, sponsored by the Jonesboro Fire Department and Police Officers, and it couldn't come soon enough, blood shortages are at an all time high.

Hospital Services Supervisor Steve Turk said, "We're really feeling the crunch here in Jonesboro, and if things don't turn around, it's only going to get worse."
The summer months find fewer units of blood in the refrigerators at the American Red Cross Center on Grant Street in Jonesboro.
Red Cross Coordinator Bob Draper says the summers are a slow time.
"A lot of individuals are traveling and we get busy and don't think about the need for blood," said Draper.
There's a shortage of blood supply when it comes to O positive and O negative. At the Jonesboro center, there's only one packet of O negative, and officials say that's partly because it's the universal donor.
"It seems like when there is a need, people do roll up their sleeves and come through, and we're very gratefully for that, but in this business, the need for blood never takes a holiday off," said Draper as he helped a woman to her donor chair.
"Make time, make time, because it is a gift of life and I wouldn't be sitting here without that blood," said Rook.

The Hoses and Badges blood drive will be at the St. Bernard's Auditorium from 12 until 6 on Saturday. Other blood drives coming up are:

  • Monday, June 28th, from 2 to 6 at Ron's Fine Foods in Horseshoe Bend
  • Tuesday, June 29th, from 3 to 7 at the First Freewill Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge
  • Wednesday, June 30th, from 2 to 7 at the Wal-Mart in Batesville