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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2007

First Lady Patricia Blagojevich leads effort to help boost blood supply in downstate Illinois at an American Red Cross blood drive
Hospitals recently reached an all-time low supply in blood donations and are in crucial need

DuQUOIN - First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today joined the American Red Cross, one of the nation’s largest blood collection organizations at the Senior Citizen Building at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds to help local area hospitals boost their blood supplies and provide hundreds of lifesaving blood transfusions. Blood supply has reached a critical low in Downstate Illinois.  The American Red Cross blood drive will take place over the Labor Day weekend and is expected to increase the current on hand blood supply, which is at a critical level, from a one day supply to five days.
 
“You never know when someone you love may need blood, which is why this blood drive will benefit all.  It is the right thing to do and it will help save many lives,” said First Lady Patricia Blagojevich.  “It is great to see a lot of people care enough to help out the less fortunate.  I am pleased to sponsor this event, and I encourage the community to come out and donate blood.”
        
The American Red Cross Missouri- Illinois Blood Region currently has about a one day supply of blood products.  Supplies of O-, O+, and B- blood types are critically low.  During a typical holiday weekend, the average car accident uses between four and 40 units of blood.  Local hospitals in Downstate Illinois have been reduced to 126 units due to a lack of blood donations.   
 
“There couldn’t be a better time for the First Lady to join our team and ensure our local hospitals have the much-needed blood to help save our community members’ lives.  This is another chance for our community to come together and help save lives.  You never know – the blood donated today could help someone celebrate another birthday, anniversary or other milestone in his or her life,” said Garry Allison, Southern Illinois Regional and Donor Recruitment Representative.
 
Every two seconds someone in America needs blood transfusion.  Sixty percent of the population is eligible to donate blood; however, only five percent typically do.  One donation can help save up to three lives.  Certain cancer patients need blood transfusions in order to successful undergo cancer treatments.  A healthy person can donate blood every 56 days (6 times a year) thus saving up to 18 lives.  In Illinois you must be 16 years of age and weight 110 pounds.
 
The American Red Cross serves as the bridge between over 4 million generous blood donors and millions of patients in need each year.  In addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers community services that help the needy; support and comfort for military members and their families; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; educational programs that promote health and safety; and international relief and development programs.


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