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Answer the call to give blood

We may not give much thought to the blood that flows through our veins — until something goes wrong.

If we or someone we love becomes ill or is injured and needs blood, we begin to understand how precious this life-giving fluid really is.

It is then that we begin to worry that obtaining the blood we need may not be a given thing — shortages do occur and some blood types are in higher demand than others. Although blood is an easily renewable resource, demand often exceeds the supply. We all have blood, and yet, many do not donate on a regular basis.

On Tuesday, the American Red Cross issued an emergency request for donors of all blood types after seeing a drop of about 10 percent — or 50,000 fewer donations — across the country in June.

That may not sound like a major number of donations, but considering the demand for blood, it could be disastrous. Red Cross officials tell us that someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, so it doesn’t take long to run dry.

June can be among the most challenging months to collect enough blood and platelet donations, said Jane Hale, Red Cross spokeswoman, because many regular donors get busy with summer activities and are unable to make donating blood a priority.

Another problem, Hale said, is that about 20 percent of donors are typically high school and college students, and when they are on summer break, donations drop. Donations from those who usually give at these drives drop by more than 80 percent when school is out for the summer, she told us.

The Red Cross is asking for the public’s help now to prevent a more serious shortage. Denton County has several blood drives scheduled this month and next to support the Red Cross, and residents should be able to find a convenient donation point, officials said.

Here are some upcoming drives:

Toyota of Lewisville, 1547 S. Stemmons Freeway in Lewisville, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday;

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church gymnasium, 300 W. Oak St. in Denton, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday;

Sanger High School (at First Baptist Church of Sanger), 713 S. 5th St. in Sanger, from 2 to 7 p.m. July 24; and

Golden Triangle Mall, 2201 S. Interstate 35E in Denton, from noon to 4 p.m. July 27.

A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Potential donors must be 18 or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health.

The American Red Cross, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter, food and emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, according to the organization’s website.

In a press release, CEO Steve Nagle said the organization is counting on generous volunteers to step up and give blood.

We join him and encourage Denton County residents to make a donation to help relieve the shortage and then consider donating on a regular basis. You never know when you might need someone to do the same for you.

Those who wish to donate can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or find more information and other area drives at .