Virginia Blood Services issues urgent call for donors

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2011 file photo, donors give blood at a drive attempting to set a record for most single-day donations in Rutland, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Virginia Blood Services (VBS) is calling on people to donate blood following a sharp decline in donations leading up the July 4 holiday.

VBS says blood supplies across the country are dangerously low. In an effort to rebuild supplies and be prepared for any unexpected events, VBS is calling on residents of Hampton, Norfolk and all of the Commonwealth, to give blood this week and throughout the rest of the summer.

Donors of all blood types are needed, but donations from O-negative donors — the universal blood type — are especially important this time of year, because of the spike in accidents and trauma cases. The current O-negative blood supply sits at an approximate two-day supply, which is half of the ideal quantity needed to support patient needs.

Platelet donations  — which have a shelf life of only five days and are needed for those being treated for cancer — are in high demand as well.

In July alone, Virginia Blood Services is facing shortfall of several thousand donations, with deficits continuing through August.

“Summer is always a challenging time for blood collections and maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply is our top priority,” said Virginia Blood Services Executive Director Todd Cahill.  “In order to ensure sufficient blood supply to treat patients, including those with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, patients undergoing organ transplants, and trauma victims, it is crucial that donors come out and donate as often as possible, especially during the summer.”

Here’s a list of some local blood drives happening this week:

Monday, July 10

  • Ironbound Gym, 4325 New Town Avenue, Williamsburg | 2 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, July 11

  • Tidewater Tech, 4455 South Boulevard, Virginia Beach | 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, July 18

  • Bryant & Stratton College, Hampton | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, July 19

  • Jackson Memorial Baptist Church, 4316 Bruce Road, Chesapeake | 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.