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Amid major blood supply shortage, the American Red Cross says it’s more important than ever to give blood. Multiple blood donation opportunities are on the horizon in Mayfield, including two blood drives in the week ahead.

The first blood drive is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 23 at the American Legion at 211 S. Seventh St. A second drive is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 26 at CFSB Mayfield at 100 Dick Castleman Bypass.

In a news release about the blood drives, the Red Cross said it’s seeing the lowest blood supply levels for this time of year in more than a decade. Lou Zimmerman, the Red Cross’ account manager for Graves County, said the shortage is a major reason why it’s so important for folks in the county to give blood this month.

“It is most likely that everybody is going to need blood at some time in their life, and because of the shortage, the need is as great now as it’s ever been,” Zimmerman said.

Blood donations help patients with chronic illness, burn victims, sickle cell disease patients, cancer patients and trauma patients.

Zimmerman said the Red Cross is especially low on type O positive and type O negative blood, but all blood types are encouraged to give.

The American Red Cross also noted that the flu poses a potential threat to fall and winter donations this year. The organization said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of a potential spike in flu cases this year. While last year’s flu season saw cases at an all-time low, that’s precisely why experts say a spike could be in store this year.

During a White House briefing in October, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the U.S. could see a severe flu season this year, because Americans may have reduced influenza immunity after last year’s extremely mild season.

Walensky said COVID-19 prevention measures played a major role in the 2020-2021 flu season. The CDC only reported around 2,000 flu cases that season. That’s compared with an estimated 35 million cases in the 2019-2020 season.

That’s why the Red Cross is encouraging folks to give blood before peak flu season arrives, potentially sidelining donors at home.

The Red Cross is also offering some incentives to encourage donors in November. Everyone who donates before Nov. 23 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. People who donate from Nov. 24 to Nov. 28 will receive a pair of Red Cross socks while supplies last.

But those who can’t make it out to donate this month will have another opportunity to give blood in Graves County.

In addition to the November drives, Zimmerman said another Red Cross blood drive will be held in December. That drive will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Northside Church of Christ. The church is at 711 Housman St. in Mayfield.

There are multiple ways to schedule an appointment to donate blood through the American Red Cross. Donors can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit RedCross Blood.org or download the Red Cross Blood Donor App to a smartphone to schedule an appointment.