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      Blood supply critically low; Red Cross looking for donors

      Photo Credit: FILE

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The regional American Red Cross says blood supply levels have reached a critical low level Monday.

      The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the blood supply in the Carolinas has dwindled to the lowest level in more than 12 years.

      South Carolina officials are asking donors to make an appointment to help out by making a donation.

      Currently, the Red Cross says all blood types are needed.

      Because of recent disasters, levels have dropped. Officials say they have not been replenished because of donors traveling for summer vacations.

      "The red cross has responded to 30 disasters in over 40 states. with the blood, it's more of a personal disaster, but it could be one for you, me or any of our loved ones if blood isn't available," explains Lauren Way of the Red Cross.

      As a physician, I have seen first-hand how blood transfusions can truly help save lives, said Courtney K. Hopkins, Medical Director for the South Carolina and Southern Blood Service Regions. However, a critical blood shortage like the one we TMre experiencing right now could have a devastating effect on a patient whose survival may depend on blood being there when needed.

      There are several upcoming blood drives, including one hosted by WACH Fox. The Drive for Life will take place this Thursday between 1 and 8 p.m. at the Community Room at the Village at Sandhill.

      All participating blood donors will get an American Red Cross T-shirt and a chance to meet on-air personalities from WACH Fox. Click here to learn more about the event.

      If you can't make it to the Drive for Life, other drives are being held around the Midlands. Visit the Red Cross website to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.

      American Red Cross regional director Barry Porter says sponsored blood drives account for nearly half of all donations.

      Are you a blood donor? If so, tell us why by leaving a comment below.