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Blood is in short supply – the Red Cross needs your help. Please donate

Most of us are looking for something to do to celebrate summer — a relatively normal summer, at that. There are camps, vacations, home improvement projects, fairs and festivals … plenty to occupy active families.

Consider adding something else to the list: become a blood donor. The need for donated blood is critical, especially in the wake of shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although we may think that blood is taken out of the donor and given whole to the recipient, that almost never happens. After you donate blood, the components are separated out. The red blood cells are given to people with anemia or who are in surgery to replace blood loss. These “packed” red blood cells contain almost none of the immunoglobulins your body has made in response to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The plasma, rich with proteins, is also used for various medical conditions. Some people with immune deficiencies get immunoglobulin infusions monthly, for example, and your antibodies are helping to protect those recipients. So far, studies using plasma with high levels of antibodies — normally from people recently recovered from COVID-19 infection — have shown only a small amount of benefit.

Still, due to component therapy, every pint of blood collected can serve as many as three different individuals.

In many parts of the country — in this part of the country — there is an urgent need for blood. We applaud you for donating, and encourage readers, who may have been regular donors before the pandemic, to donate soon — and to suggest donation by others.

The Red Cross is offering incentives for those who give blood in the month of July. Anyone who donates through July 31 gets a chance to win gas for a year — a $5,000 value. Three winners will be selected.

Also offered is a chance to win one of two expense-paid trips for four to Knott’s Berry Farm or Cedar Point Park. A $10 Amazon.com gift card will be sent via email to every presenting donor.

There are two more drives in the area this months — one each in Mifflin and Juniata counties — and one coming up in Snyder County in early August. They are:

¯ Monday, July 26 — Locust Grove Mennonite Church, Belleville, 1 to 7 p.m.

¯ Friday, July 30 — Thompsontown Ambulance League, 1 to 6:30 p.m.

¯ Wednesday, Aug. 4 — Middlecreek Area Community Center, Beaver Springs, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Red Cross reminds potential donors that appointments required. For appointments and “Rapid Pass” visit: www.redcross.org.

It’s time to roll up your sleeve. The life you save may be your own.

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