LONDONDERRY — Mary Lou Linnemann of Windham took an hour out of her day yesterday to give blood.
Her donation is important.
The American Red Cross has issued an “emergency call” for donors of all blood types.
“It’s a little slow today,” Red Cross nurse Kimberly Roy said at the Lions Hall on Mammoth Road as Linnemann donated shortly after noon.
A half dozen chairs intended for people waiting were empty.
The drive opened at 9 a.m.
“We have had 17 people so far,” Roy said. “But even if it’s one, it’s important.”
Donations throughout the country were down 10 percent, or about 50,000 fewer than expected, last month, the Red Cross reported.
“We’re seeing that picture across the nation,” Red Cross spokesman Jecoliah Ellis said.
The Londonderry drive typically generates 35 to 40 donors, so participation was off about 50 percent.
The Red Cross blames the shortage on summer activities distracting regular donors.
Linnemann is a regular donor who is always mindful of the need.
A retired school nurse, she has donated faithfully for 10 to 12 years.
“Probably every two months,” Linnemann said. “They have to remind me.”
Those reminders come through calls and postcards.
She doesn’t mind donating.
“They’re always nice,” Linnemann said of the Red Cross staff.
It really doesn’t hurt, either, she said.
“Like a mosquito bite,” she said.
Robert Bellew, a construction worker from Londonderry, was donating at the same time.
“I’ve been a donor since 1977,” Bellew said.
He was 18 when he started. “I thought I’d be helpful and fill a need.”
Bellew gives blood every four months.
“It doesn’t bother me pain-wise,” he said. “When it’s all said and done, it probably takes an hour.”
Roy said donating is easy to do.
“Start to finish, you should allow yourself at least an hour,” she said.
The Red Cross guidance starts even before donors arrive.
“We encourage good hydration up to two days before the donation,” Roy said.
That makes it easier for staff to find a donor’s veins.
Linnemann and Bellew encourage people to help with the Red Cross blood drives.
“If you can, donate,” Linnemann said. “You might need it sometime.”
“Give if you can,” Bellew said. “It’s not painful when you are helping a good cause.”
People in Southern New Hampshire can start to help alleviate the shortage tomorrow in Salem.
Roy said there is a blood drive at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 37 Main St., from 1 to 7 p.m.
“All blood types are needed,” Roy said.
The Salem drive usually sees about 70 donors.
“We do accept walk-ins,” she said.
But people also can make an appointment by calling 1-800-Give-Life or online at RedCross.org.
The Red Cross also is seeking donations of platelets. A component of blood, they aid in clotting and are important for helping cancer patients.
The Red Cross said demand for platelets is increasing because of medical advances.
Platelets are only good for about five days, compared to about 40 days for blood.
Here’s a look at other upcoming drives:
Saturday, July 13, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., American Legion, 176 Main St., Plaistow.
Saturday, July 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Town Hall, 2 Town Hall Road, Newton.
Tuesday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Salvation Army, 18 Folsom Road, Derry.
Wednesday, July 17, noon to 6 p.m., Fish & Game Club, 18 May Ray Avenue, Plaistow.
Wednesday, July 17, noon to 5 p.m., Kingston Community Library, 2 Library Lane, Kingston.
Friday, July 19, noon to 5 p.m., Palmer Gas Ermer Oil Co., 13 Hall Farm Road, Atkinson.
Monday, July 22, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Londonderry High, 295 Mammoth Road.