Red Cross urges donations to save lives this New Year

After jets crashed into the twin towers in 2001, Neal Whitman of Reynoldsburg wanted to help the victims by donating blood.

"So that there would be something beneficial or good coming out of those events," Whitman said. "Hopefully other people have the same thought."

Since then, he has donated more than eight gallons of blood.

As slippery roads fill with holiday travelers, American Red Cross officials hope more like Whitman will donate their blood to save lives.
Linda Turner of Reynoldsburg has donated more than a gallon.

"It’s what I can do," Turner said.

Turner and Whitman were among the more than 40 people who donated blood at the Reynoldsburg police station on Dec. 10. The Reynoldsburg Division of Police will host another blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. Jan. 2 at the police station, 7240 E. Main St.

City auditor Richard Harris also donated that day.

"I have given blood for years," Harris said. "It is the civic thing to do and the need for blood is very high this time of year. They always run short."

Emergency rooms begin to see more and more trauma patients as vehicles careen off icy roads, said Jing Lei Wang, the Red Cross charge nurse at the Police Station for the blood drive Dec. 10.

Harris has given six gallons. He volunteers for a special procedure that removes only the red blood cells while returning the remainder of his blood – including the platelets and white blood cells to his veins.

Where giving blood usually takes 15 to 20 minutes, the special red blood cell extraction takes closer to an hour, Harris said.

"It’s special," Harris said. "Not everyone can do it. I think they said they use it for births and trauma patients."

Upcoming opportunities for giving blood include the Reynoldsburg Division of Police blood drive and another from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 29 in the parking lot of Pickerington’s Cracker Barrel.

To schedule an appointment at the Reynoldsburg blood drive, call Cheryl Kristy at (614) 322-6932.

To schedule an appointment at a blood drive or for more information, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or go to www.givelife.org.

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