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Sufficient blood supply crucial for community preparedness

Sufficient blood supply crucial for community preparedness
It is the generosity of our volunteer blood donors that enables the Red Cross to respond immediately to emergency situations.

Having a sufficient blood supply available is a crucial part of community preparedness. It’s the blood on the already on the shelves when disaster strikes that helps save lives.

STANDING STONEHAM STRONG On July 30, JP and Paul Norden walked into the gymnasium at the Stoneham Boys & Girls Club, each standing on a prosthetic leg. They’re no strangers to the basketball court at the club where they used to play ball as children, but this visit was different. This time they came to attend an American Red Cross blood drive in their honor. The Norden Brothers were injured in the Boston Marathon Bombings where they lost a leg and a lot of blood on scene. Joining them was Paul’s girlfriend, Jacqui Webb, who was also injured in the incident.

"I was one pint away from (having) no blood," said JP Norden. His brother Paul also needed blood as part of his recovery. They were not alone. The Red Cross sent 600 blood products to Boston area hospitals in response to the tragedy.

The Stoneham Strong blood drive was sponsored by Massachusetts State Senator Katherine M. Clark and the Town of Stoneham. About 75 units of blood were collected, and each donation could help save more than one life. “This drive was an opportunity for residents of Stoneham and surrounding communities to come together and once again demonstrate their tremendous strength and willingness to make a difference,” said Clark. “The Marathon bombings greatly affected the Stoneham community and brought into sharp focus the need for blood donations. And, as the American Red Cross reminds us, that need is constant.”

THE NEED IS CONSTANT When Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian donated blood at the Stoneham Strong drive, he had no way of knowing that one of his deputies would be shot the next day. The officer was shot by an inmate during a transport at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, and the Red Cross provided 10 units of blood to Massachusetts General Hospital where he is recovering.

“Sheriff Koutoujian is a longtime blood donor and supporter of the Red Cross. We were struck by the coincidence that less than 24 hours after he gave the gift of life, one of his officers was shot and needed emergency medical attention,” said Donna Morrissey, director of communications for the Red Cross Northeast Blood Services Division. “It is the generosity of our volunteer blood donors that enables the Red Cross to respond immediately to emergency situations such as this.”

ROLL UP A SLEEVE On average, the Red Cross must collect almost 17,000 pints of blood every day for patients at nearly 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. As August begins, all eligible blood donors are encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives.

Those who were too busy to give at the start of summer can visit a Red Cross donation center or blood drive this week. Donors who gave whole blood in May or early June are encouraged to make an appointment to give again this month.

HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.