Thumbs up: To all who are rolling up their sleeves in response to a serious blood shortage in the region.

June and July are typically slow months for blood donations, but this month was particularly bad because July 4 fell on a Friday, which reduced the number of sponsored blood drives, said Steve Mavica, a spokesman for the American Red Cross region that includes York County.

"It's just been continuing to go down. And, unfortunately, if that decline continues, and that shortfall would get significant enough, we are very close to being in an emergency situation in the coming weeks," Mavica said.

Nationally, blood donations have been down about 8 percent during the past 11 weeks, Mavica said. Locally, the deficit is closer to 9 percent — resulting in a shortage of 3,200 units of blood.

The Red Cross is asking donors of all types — especially those with type O negative, B negative and A negative blood — to donate.

"We just need people to regularly come in, so we can increase our donor base, so we don't have to rely on other areas of the United States," Mavica said.

Visit www.redcrossblood.org/midatlantic to find an upcoming blood drive near you.

Thumbs up: Dallastown resident and former York City police officer Phil Roberts is one tough guy.


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The 55-year-old beat the field in eight events over a single day to win gold in his age group and weight class in the Can-Am Game's Toughest Competitor Alive contest.

And he did it while being treated for recently diagnosed bladder cancer.

Roberts said he started training about a year ago and was diagnosed in June. It turned out he couldn't train as hard as he wanted to, but "I knew that I could do it."

Roberts had to complete eight events throughout the day: a 3.1-mile run, shot put, 100-meter sprint, 100-meter swim, 20-foot rope climb, bench press, pull-ups and obstacle course.

This was the first year York County hosted the Can-Am Police-Fire Games, which drew 637 police officers, firefighters and EMTs from the United States and Canada for 50 events July 13-19.

The next Can-Am Games will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 2016 — and Roberts plans to be there to defend his title.