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Centers in desperate need of blood donations

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    Lauren Stahl, left, draws blood Monday from Palmerton resident Leon Techentin at St. Luke’s Palmerton Campus. Miller-Keystone Blood Center partnered with the Palmerton community to host a blood and platelet drive in the midst of a national shortage. See a video of blood being processed and sent to a hospital at JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS

Published January 15. 2019 12:13PM


The holiday season is a time for giving, but that saying often doesn’t apply when it comes to blood.

A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care.

In conjunction with National Blood Donor Month, Miller-Keystone Blood Center partnered with the Palmerton community on Monday to host a blood drive at the at the St. Luke’s Palmerton Campus.

One of Monday’s donors was Palmerton resident Leon Techentin, who gave his 211th pint of blood.

“I hope that I never need blood, but if I do, I hope it’s there,” Techentin said. “I’m doing this just in the hopes that I can help someone else.”

According to Miller-Keystone, it is estimated that 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, yet only about 3 percent follow through on it.

Miller-Keystone said its goal is to collect 65 units at the January drive, which could save 195 lives.

“I truly hope they get there,” said Mary McCully of Palmerton. “More people should do this. We need more young people. You look in the waiting room and it’s a lot of the older generation. Hopefully later in the day, some of the young people take the time to help.”

The Miller-Keystone Blood Center in Hanover Township, Northampton County, experienced a burst pipe and subsequent flooding, which closed the center for the past five days. The location on Valley Center Parkway is the most popular site for donors, according to Michael McShane, senior director of recruitment. Donations made there account for about a quarter of the donations necessary for area hospitals.

McShane said this drive will help the center replenish their supply and serve area hospitals.

The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. During this period, about 1,350 fewer blood drives were hosted by volunteer sponsor groups than required to meet patient needs as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.

“During the winter months, snowstorms, icy road conditions and seasonal illnesses like the flu often cause blood donors to delay their donations,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services. “This further exacerbates our already depleted blood supply from over the holidays. We are working every day to restock hospitals shelves with lifesaving blood products for patients, and right now, we need all healthy, eligible individuals to give blood and platelets as soon as possible to ensure we can meet patient needs.”


Jim Thorpe: 1-6 p.m. Jan. 24, Jim Thorpe Market, 1 River Road.


Kunkletown: 1-6 p.m. Jan. 25, Kunkletown Fire House, 597 Kunkletown Road



Tamaqua: 1-6 p.m. Wednesday, St. John United Church of Christ, 150 Pine St.


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