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      How you can help during a national blood shortage

      Right now the number of blood and platelets donations the Red Cross is taking in is much lower than expected, about eight percent lower.

      "It's something that I can do for other people and I know there??s a great need for it."

      Those were the words of Melba Funk. She donates platelets and blood, and she does it as often as she can.

      "It averages about once a month,?? she said.

      And it's a good thing she does, because according to the American Red Cross, there is a shortage for blood needed around the country. Right now the number of blood and platelets donations the Red Cross is taking in is much lower than expected, about eight percent lower.

      That adds up to about 80,000 pints of blood. During a standard donation, one pint of blood is taken from your system.

      By comparison, a single car accident victim needs around 100 pints of donated blood. Morgan Waterkotte works for the American Red Cross - she says summer is the hardest time to find donations.

      "People in the summer are busy with vacations and summer camp with their kids and stuff and a lot of people don't take the time,?? she said. ??And we're not a priority at that time but the people who receive our blood and products, they don't have those vacations and it is a constant need."

      That's why the American Red Cross chapter in Quincy wants to help solve the problem. It will hold donation days this Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25 at the Quincy Blood Donation Center on 23rd street in Quincy.

      Wattercotte says from start to finish, the donation time takes about an hour.

      And if you need more reassurance, Melba Funk said, "I always enjoy being with the staff here, they treat you with great respect."

      The American Red Cross is responsible for about 40 percent of the nations donated blood.