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Donors needed: Metro DC area blood supplies are critically low

“Donating blood is so easy. It takes less than an hour and you can save up to three lives of patients in your community," said Inova Blood Donor Services Marketing Manager Julia Ward. (Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Blood supplies in the metro D.C. region are critically low, according to Inova Blood Donor Services, which supports 90 percent of the area’s hospitals.

“Seven out of the eight blood types are critically needed right now,” said Inova Blood Donor Services Marketing Manager Julia Ward. “We need you to make an appointment to donate blood, so you can help patients in our local hospitals.”

Only 5 percent of eligible donors actually do it, which surprises Ward considering how great the need is versus the ease of making it happen.

“There’s no substitute for human blood and all of the blood that is transfused in United States hospitals is from volunteer blood donors,” Ward said. “Donating blood is so easy. It takes less than an hour and you can save up to three lives of patients in your community.”

Donate and you might be helping someone with cancer, a rare disease or who’s had an organ transplant. And, trauma and accident victims needing blood might end up being you, your family members or friends.

The need for donations is immediate, but if you can’t right away, Inova Blood Donor Services is sponsoring a special three-day St. Patrick’s Day Celebration for donors.

To make an appointment, find locations to donate or get information about how to host your own blood drive, go to the Inova Blood Donor Services website.

Inova requires donors to be at least 17 or 16 with parental permission. They must weigh at least 110 pounds. See what else is needed to be eligible.

You also can donate blood to the Red Cross. Find a Red Cross blood donation location.

The Red Cross requires donors to be at least 16 and weigh at least 110 pounds. See the rest of the requirements.

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