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Blood Assurance, which has a donation center in Fort Oglethorpe, is in critical need of blood donations after a system outage prevented them from processing blood or contacting donors.

Blood Assurance is asking all eligible community members to please donate blood as soon as possible.

“We are experiencing a seriously critical need at this time and are asking our communities for help,” said Dr. Elizabeth Culler, medical director at Blood Assurance. “We were already experiencing an urgent need for donations and this system outage prevented us from being able to contact the donors we needed or process any of the blood we collected on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 12-14).”

Each donation of blood contains plasma, red blood cells and platelets that can be used to save up to three lives.

Patients undergoing surgery, receiving cancer treatment or organ transplants rely on donated blood, in addition to the unexpected traumas seen at hospitals on a daily basis. All blood used at hospitals is given by volunteer donors only.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 18 years old (16 and 17 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeine and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.

Appointments are not required, but can be scheduled for a donor center or blood drive by visiting www.bloodassurance.org, calling 800-962-0628 or texting “BAGIVE” to 444999.