Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 12:25 am | Fair 67º

 
 
 
 

United Blood Services Still in Critical Need of Donors with Rare Blood Types

Those with types O Negative and A Negative, especially, are sought to help meet increasing demand

United Blood Services, Central Coast is renewing its appeal for blood donors with rare blood types, such as O Negative and A Negative.

Demands in the past week have again increased, dropping the available supply of types O Negative and A Negative to seriously low levels. This is the second appeal in just three weeks for these unique blood types. While public response was initially very strong, demand also has been very high, creating an urgent need for these rare types.

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 Types O and A are seriously needed. Donors with other blood types are asked to maintain a regular schedule of donating three times per year.

Blood donors in the coming days will be automatically entered in a drawing for a vacation getaway to Las Vegas. The grand-prize package includes round-trip air fare for two on Allegiant, two nights of deluxe accommodations at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, dinner for two and tickets to see Penn and Teller.

All volunteer blood donors in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties who are age 21 or older and give through Feb. 13 will be automatically entered to win. A second-place prize also will be awarded to a randomly selected donor for two round-trip air tickets 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 A Negative blood. It can be safely transfused to any patient with Type A or AB blood (both positive and negative), so 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. at the corner of Cañon Perdido. 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 the 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 contacting United Blood Services at 800.715.3699 or online. Just click on “Donate Blood” and type in your ZIP code to find a list of drives nearby.

— Janna Nichols is the marketing and communications manager for United Blood Services, Central Coast.

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