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United Blood Services in Critical Need of Rare Blood Types

Donors with types O-negative and A-negative are especially needed

United Blood Services has issued a critical appeal for donors with rare blood types, such as O-negative and A-negative. This is a worsening situation as demand is very high for these two blood types, while the number of people who have these types is very few.

The blood center is especially seeking new donors, who perhaps don’t know their blood type, in an effort to identify more donors with these rare types. Those who have never donated are especially encouraged to come forward. One of the great extras to saving a life, is that donors learn their blood type!

This month also is recognized as National Blood Donor Month. Donations of all types are encouraged, but those with Type O and A are critically needed.

Blood donors not only will save lives, but will be automatically entered in a drawing for a vacation getaway to Las Vegas. The grand prize Las Vegas package includes round-trip air fare for two on Allegiant, two nights of deluxe accommodations at the J.W. Marriott Resort & Spa, dinner for two and tickets to see Penn & Teller. All volunteer blood donors in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties age 21 or older who give through Feb. 13 will be entered to win. A second-place prize also will be awarded to a randomly selected donor for two round-trip flight anywhere Allegiant flies.

Type O-negative blood is found in just 7 percent of the population. Known as the “universal donor,” this blood type can be transfused to anyone. It is often transfused in emergency and trauma situations, when there is little time to “type” a patient’s blood Patients often need multiple units, in some cases hundreds of units.

Likewise, a mere 6 percent of the population has Type A-negative blood. As it can be safely transfused to any patient with Type A or AB blood (both positive and negative) it too is often needed. And again multiple units may be needed by any one patient.

Donations may be made at the UBS Center in Santa Barbara at 902 Laguna St. Click here for a list of blood drives in the area. Appointments are appreciated, but not necessary. Walk-ins are also welcome, and will be honored as our appointment schedule allows.

Center hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday (pizza is served on Wednesday evenings) and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

Donors must be older than age 16, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors age 22 or younger.

Donors are asked to make an appointment by clicking here or calling United Blood Services at 800.715.3699. Just click on “Donate Blood” and type in a ZIP code to find a list of drives nearby.

— Scott Edward is the donor recruitment director for United Blood Services.

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