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Summer blood drives are vital

By Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

The number of people who donate blood typically drops in the summer, but a number of west Kentuckians visited the Calvert City Civic Center Monday to do just that at a drive sponsored by the city and its local Lions Club.

The drive was held from 1-6 p.m. and included a drawing for a prize donated by Community Financial Services Bank.

Calvert City Lions Club member Bob Mobley said the club holds the American Red Cross blood drives once about every five weeks, and has done so, fellow member David Madison added, for more than 20 years.

In a press release for its "100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope" campaign - which seeks to increase summer blood donations - the Red Cross noted that it sees roughly two fewer donors at each blood drive between Memorial Day and Labor Day. According to the organization, it needs to collect 15,000 blood donations each day of the year to have enough blood to help patients in 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

Red Cross worker Hans Weyland said blood donation participation is higher during the school year, when the Red Cross holds drives at high schools and colleges. He said the organization hosts college drives in the summer as well, but the turnout is far lower.

"Sometimes we can go into a shortage during the summer when there's not enough blood on the shelves for the patients in the hospitals," Weyland said.

Blood donor Susan Lepisto said she regularly gives blood, and said donating blood is an important civic activity for those who can participate. She said while she was donating blood Monday she met a man whose daughter had cancer and had needed blood transfusions. Lepisto said she believes stories like his are common in the community and giving blood offers her a way to help people.

"I figure I'm not brave enough to ever save anybody's life, and this way I might possibly be able to save a life some time," Lepisto said.

Weyland said at around 2:30 p.m., 20 people had donated blood so far. Weyland said the goal was 50 donors in six hours and, while participation started off slow, he felt the drive would come close to reaching that goal.

Mobley said the next blood drive at the Calvert City Civic Center will be Sept. 8, and folks wishing to donate can make appointments ahead of time, and walk-ins are welcome as well. To make an appointment, call Madison at 270-395-7303 or Red Cross representative Laura Fristo at 270-748-5360.

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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