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Blood donations at a critical low

Stanford Blood Center (SBC) is currently facing a critical need for all blood types, especially type O blood products, and is asking residents to donate to meet the immediate needs of local patients.

A blood drive will take place at the Veterans Memorial Building, 74 West Sixth St. in Gilroy, on Dec. 22 from noon to 5pm.

Over the past few weeks, SBC has seen a significant decline in the number of people coming in to give blood. In part, this is because of a decrease in donations due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic; but it’s heightened at this time of year by rainy weather, by the impact of cold and flu season, and by donors being less available throughout the holidays.

“O+ and O- are the most frequently needed blood types for patients and, as of today, we have less than a four-day supply,” said Dr. Suchi Pandey, chief medical officer at Stanford Blood Center. “Given current demand, and with the number of cancellations we are seeing, that is not enough to carry us through the upward trend in usage. In the past two weeks, SBC sent out 15 percent more type O red blood cells than the typical weekly average. While 15 percent may not sound like a lot, it means our current collection of type O cannot meet the need for our regular hospital partners who are treating numerous patients in critical care at this time. So we need your help now to fill the gap. These transfusions represent individuals in the community whose lives depend on the generosity of blood donors.”

Donors should be in good health with no cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms. They should eat well prior to donation, drink fluids, and present a photo ID at the time of donation. 

Eligibility information can be found at stanfordbloodcenter.org/eligibility or by calling 888.723.7831.

To make an appointment, visit stanford.io/3rBRTya.

Free phone support for victims of racism, hate crimes

People who have encountered racism or hate crimes in South County can acquire wellness support and coaching services through a free phone line established by a local therapist and other professionals.

The program, known as “The Hopeful Connect,” is an after hours phone support line dedicated to individuals who may have experienced racism or hate crimes. The free service will be available from 8-10pm Dec. 6 to Feb. 6, 2022, by calling 408.782.4736.

Irem Choksy, a licensed mental health therapist who helped create the Hopeful Connect, said hate crime rates in 2021 were the highest in 12 years nationwide. That includes a “sharp increase in crime toward African Americans, Asians, immigrants, seniors and women,” Choksy said in an email.

“Our goal is to support individuals who are impacted by such incidents (so they) have anonymous and free access to support after hours,” Choksy said. “We have dedicated coaches who provide support over the phone.”

The Hopeful Connect was established by Think Hopeful, Inc., and Choksy is one of three people leading the organization’s anti-hate initiative. The program is partially funded by Santa Clara County, Choksy said.

“Our organization is dedicated to making wellness accessible, relatable and affordable. We do this by promoting racial equity through conscious technology,” Choksy said.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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