Donations of blood and platelets are needed locally, according to press releases issued recently by two organizations.


The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Aiken Mall, located at 2441 Whiskey Road.


The Red Cross made an appeal in late July that led to an increase in donations. But there continues to be an urgent need for blood of all types as Labor Day approaches, because donations typically decline during the summer months.


The need is greatest for types O negative, B negative and A negative blood.


For more information, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.


The Shepeard Community Blood Center, which is based in Augusta, is asking for donations of platelets from people who are cytomegalovirus-negative.


The platelets will be used to treat seriously ill babies and toddlers. Cytomegalovirus, also known as CMV, is a virus that is present in the blood of about 80 percent of the adult population. CMV doesnít pose a risk for adults. But blood containing CMV can be life-threatening, and possibly fatal, when it is used in transfusions for babies and young children.


In particular, Shepeard is seeking CMV-negative donors who have type A negative or type B negative blood to meet the needs of 21 area hospitals.


Anyone interested in making a donation of platelets should contact Alicia Reed, Shepeardís automated donations recruiter, at 706-854-1582 or 706-833-4536.


In general, based on the requirements of both organizations, individuals must be at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in South Carolina) and weigh at least 110 pounds to be eligible to donate.


In its release, the Red Cross noted that high school students and donors under 18 years of age have to meet certain height- as well as weight- requirements.


Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.