Having provided comfort and aid to those in need since 1881, the Red Cross quickly adopted Blood Services as a fundamental part of its humanitarian mission. Started as a war relief effort to provide life-saving blood for soldiers during World War II, Red Cross Blood Services has grown to become an industry leader — collecting and distributing half the nation’s blood supply.
All the technology and science, however, is only made possible by one simple selfless act: An average person takes time out of his busy schedule to give a piece of himself so that someone he will never know has a chance to live.
This incredible act of kindness, that allows a stranger to celebrate another birthday, give birth to a child, or share another Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, is at the heart of what we do.
Since establishing the first civilian blood service after World War II, the American Red Cross has been a leader in blood collection, safety and development. Today, the safety and availability of the blood supply is our highest priority. And our national research center, the Jerome H. Holland Laboratory, is one of the foremost blood research facilities in the world.
Today’s Red Cross blood program is the legacy of Dr. Charles Drew, a hematologist, surgeon, educator and scientist whose pioneering work in blood collection, plasma processing and transfusion therapy laid the foundation for modern blood banking.
To all the volunteer blood donors, we thank you on behalf of the lives of those patients you have saved, and all their grateful loved ones. You are the true definition of a hero.
The American Red Cross is dedicated to providing the community with a safe and reliable blood supply. Blood is a precious resource for which there is no substitute. With the life span of blood cells as little as 5 days for platelets and 42 days for red cells, the American Red Cross depends on healthy members of the community to give blood each and every day. Blood donated through Red Cross Blood Services is given by volunteer donors who do not accept monetary reimbursement for their donations. Volunteer blood donors contribute 98% of blood and blood components transfused in this country. To meet the total demand for blood and blood products, more than 38,000 donors are needed daily.
At least one of every ten hospital patients requires a blood transfusion. Patients undergoing surgery are among the leading users of blood and blood products; other patients requiring a large volume of blood and blood products are those with diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal disease and trauma.
Giving Blood is Safe and Easy!
Your body quickly replaces the blood you give.
It is safe and easy to donate blood. An hour is all it takes to give blood to save another’s life. The actual donation time is less than ten minutes.
If you are age 17 or over and weigh at least 110 pounds, you are eligible to donate blood. Some states require a parent’s written consent if you are under 18. If you are age 66 or over, you may be accepted as a donor, after your health history is evaluated at the blood collection site.
You may give blood every 56 days, up to six times in a twelve month period.
The Red Cross collects blood only from voluntary donors.
Schedule: Dates, times and places of bloodmobile may change due to unavoidable circumstances.
Click here for a calendar showing planned blood drives or call or e-mail Wendy Bunner at (304) 263-5241, WBunner@EasternPanhandleARC.org.
Medical advances in blood donor screening and testing have dramatically improved blood safety. Additionally, changes in technology have imposed enormous demands on blood donor centers. The American Red Cross’ National Testing Laboratories (NTLs) are designed as high throughput streamlined laboratories to efficiently process and test donor samples and to release reliable results in a timely manner.
The following tests are performed on each unit of donated blood:
Antibody screening for unexpected red cell antibodies
Antibodies to Treponema pallidum for Syphilis*
Antibodies to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (anti HIV 1/2)*
Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)*
Antibodies to Hepatitis B Core Antigen (anti-HBc)*
Antibodies to Hepatitis C Virus (anti-HCV)*
Antibodies to Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus (anti HTLV I/II)*
Antibodies to CMV (Cytomegalovirus) – selected specimens only
Nucleic Acid Testing for HIV-1/HCV and West Nile Virus (WNV)*
*Confirmatory/supplemental testing is performed on reactive samples by a variety of methods.
Five American Red Cross NTLs are located as follows:
13500-A South Point Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28373
12124 NE Ainsworth Circle
Portland, OR 97220
100 Eliot Street
Detroit, MI 48201
St. Louis NTL
4050 Lindell Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108
700 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
*Includes the Confirmatory Laboratory that performs serologic and virologic testing on reactive blood donation samples.
All blood collected by the American Red Cross regional blood centers is tested by the NTLs. This modern system of fewer and larger standardized laboratories allows a systematic approach to changes in technology, new test implementations and are able to respond to medical and scientific challenges. Additionally, the American Red Cross NTLs provide services to non-Red Cross blood centers and hospitals.
Fewer, Larger Laboratories
The first of the National Testing Laboratories was opened in August, 1992, and the final NTL was opened in May 1995. Today, all of the nearly 7.2 million units of blood donated annually to the American Red Cross are tested at the organization’s NTLs in Detroit, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Charlotte, NC; Portland, OR and, St. Louis, MO.
Identical Operating Procedures, Training and Equipment
Implementation of standardized operating procedures and training, and identical equipment at all NTLs improve quality control and facilitate the adoption of new technology. Each NTL maintains a quality assurance program to help ensure high testing standards.
Quality Service Delivery and Economies of Scale
Ninety-five percent of all blood is tested by the NTLs within 15 hours from the time the blood samples are received from the regional blood centers; 99 percent of all blood is tested within 24-hours. The requisite technology and automation enable the American Red Cross to meet high-service requirements at lower costs.
Collaborators in Blood Safety and Research
The NTLs-because of their size and identical equipment and procedures-also collaborate with American Red Cross scientists and other investigators to qualify new test systems, and to participate in other research studies, to improve blood donation testing efficiency and blood component safety.
Tests from 7.2 Million Samples Each Year
Standardized operating procedures, equipment and training maximize sample testing flow and flexibility.
Emergency Back-up Plan
Each NTL can transfer its testing to other NTLs for emergency purposes in case of natural disasters or unanticipated events, and each was designed with the capacity to accommodate just such occurrences.
Testing Support, located in Charlotte, NC, provides Quality Assurance, Human Resources, Process Optimization and Operations Support for the five NTLs.