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Red Cross needs donors of all eight blood types

While many people are thinking about school shopping, there is a growing need across the nation for a necessity that cannot be found at the mall - blood.

The American Red Cross has reached critically low levels and has stayed at these low levels throughout the summer.

"There is a major shortage," said Tom Robinette, the Executive Director of the Greater Alleghenies Region of the American Red Cross.

"It is summer and people are on vacation which means more accidents and less donors. Also other factors have affected the lowering in blood donors such as the donors from the military who are at war."

There is a shortage of all blood types in the region, which covers approximately 100 counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia.

"We are at a critical level where seven of eight types (of blood) are below the supply of a one-day level when we like to have a five-day supply of each blood type," said Joy Bias, the service accountant of the Greater Alleghenies Region.

Type O negative is the most needed blood type in the nation because it can be transfused into anyone in need of blood, but all types are in great need, she said.

Anyone age 17 or older who are in generally good health and weigh 105 pounds or more are encouraged to donate blood.

Local blood drives will be held from 2 to 6 p.m.

Thursday at Dawson-Bryant High School in Coal Grove and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Donor Center at 1111 Veteran's Memorial Boulevard in Huntington, W.Va.

Also, the Save A Life Tour (S.A.L.T.) will co-host a blood drive Aug. 25 in Huntington that will feature live entertainment and the National Blood Drive Museum.

To find out more about this event go to www.redcrosswestvirginia.com.

For more information and locations for the blood drives go to www.redcrosslife.org or call 1-800-524-5663.