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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Mike Parson encourages his Communications Director Steele Shippy on Wednesday while donating blood during a Red Cross blood drive at the Harry S Truman State Office Building. The governor didn't donate over concerns of a recent surgery. Shippy said he is a regular donor. Photo by Mark Wilson / News Tribune.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson supported folks giving blood Wednesday during an American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri blood drive.

But, because of concerns over a recent surgery he'd undergone, he said he was unable to give blood himself at the Harry S. Truman State Office Building.

Instead, Steele Shippy, the governor's communications director, did donate.

"The governor is helping by endorsing our blood-drive program," said Abigail Anderson, director of the local Red Cross chapter. "We're very limited on blood supply right now. We would like to have a five-day supply, but right now, we only have a three-day supply."

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That shortage comes despite the chapter's average of five blood drives every day. The chapter is made up of 27 counties, with Putnam, Schuyler and Scotland counties (at the state line with Iowa) marking its northernmost reaches and Miller, Pulaski and Phelps counties representing its southernmost.

During the drive, Red Cross personnel collected 59 units of blood, which will help save 177 lives, Anderson said.

"The Truman State Building is typically one of our stronger drives," she said. "We appreciate the governor's endorsement of our blood program. It's very much needed right now in Central Missouri."

Of the Central Missouri population, 37 percent are able to give blood, but only 5 percent do, Anderson said. Red blood cells remain viable for 42 days. Plasma, if frozen, is viable for a year. Platelets are viable for five days.

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