Editor,As summer approaches, Miller- Keystone Blood Center would like to remind the community of the critical need for blood donations during the summer months.

It takes more than 450 people each day walking into our donor centers or blood drives to ensure that your community hospitals have enough blood products on-hand to meet patient needs. The need for blood is neverending, as blood donations play a critical role in the care of premature infants, surgical patients, accident and burn victims and individuals undergoing chemotherapy for cancer; and there is no substitute for blood - the only source is the volunteer blood donor.

During the summer, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure that sufficient donors come into the donor centers and blood drives, as family vacations, holiday events and other activities often take precedence over donating blood. However, the blood needs of area hospital patients do not go away; in fact, the need often intensifies during this time.

Starting Memorial Day (May 28) through Labor Day (Sept 3), your community hospitals will require more than 17,100 blood donations in order to treat their patients. Unfortunately, blood collections during this time are expected to yield only approximately 13,000 blood donations. That is a difference of 4,100 donations. Who will make up this difference?

Most people do not think about the importance of having sufficient supplies of blood available until they or a family member need it... but then, we don't have time to begin the recruitment process - we need the right blood type then and there.

Remember - it is only the blood donated that can save lives. Please call 610-926-6060 to schedule your blood donation, so that should you, your family or your friend need the gift of life, it will be there for them.

D. Kip Kuttner, D.O.

Medical Director Miller-Keystone Blood Center

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