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      Red Cross facing largest blood shortage in decade

      During this past summer the Albany Donor Center of the American Red Cross announced it would be closing by the end of the year, but now those plans have changed.

      The non-profit organization is deciding to delay the closure until June 30th of next year.

      American Red Cross officials say when it comes to blood and platelet inventory, they're facing the lowest levels in over a decade.

      They say people affected by recent floods, tropical storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes have drained the blood supply and as their needs continue to grow, the inventory continues to shrink.

      "The need for blood is constant. It's constant. It is a perishable item and we need it constantly, says Albany American Red Cross Donor Center Team Supervisor Lena Thomas.

      The center was set to close due to economical issues, but representatives say judging from supply and demand, now isn't the time to do it and Albany residents agree.

      We've had an overwhelming response from the Albany area in favor of the donor center staying, says Albany American Red Cross Collections Coordinator Cliff Reddish.

      By keeping the facility open, this gives the organizers a chance to build up the donor base as well as the blood supply.

      Staff workers are hoping more people realize the need and take time to donate.

      All we simply do is have you take a mini physical. Once you pass that we draw your blood, says Lena Thomas.

      Thomas says most donors believe the 30 minute process is worth it, if one life can be saved.

      Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood.

      For more information on blood donations or to schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit