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American Red Cross Issues Emergency Call for Blood Donors Now Blood and platelet donors of all types needed

“We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met. Each pint of whole blood can help save more than one life.”

The American Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency levels with 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June. This shortfall leaves the Red Cross with half the readily available blood products on hand now than this time last year.

The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors – now more than ever – to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer.

An unseasonably early start to spring may be a contributing factor to this year’s decrease in donations. Many regular donors got an early start on summer activities and aren’t taking time to give blood or platelets. In addition, this year’s mid-week Independence Day holiday has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. Many sponsors, especially businesses, are unable to host drives because employees are taking extended vacations.

Unfortunately, patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood products. The need is constant. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies – when there are complications during childbirth – and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

“Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Of that, the Heart of America Blood Services Region must collect approximately 500 pints per day,” said Shelly Heiden, CEO of the American Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region, serving Illinois, Eastern Iowa and parts of Missouri. “We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met. Each pint of whole blood can help save more than one life.”

“There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren’t readily available or, in a worst case scenario, have to forego a more serious procedure because of a shortage of blood,” Heiden added. “Our goal is to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.

The American Red Cross’ Live Life. Give Life. summer-long campaign is helping to raise awareness about the constant need for blood and encourage regular donations. Presenting donors between May 21 and September 5, 2012 will be entered automatically into the Live Life. Give Life. promotion for a chance to win prize packages from GiftCertificates.com. And, from June 29 to July 8, presenting donors will be entered to win additional prize certificates to thank them for giving blood around the Independence Day holiday. Visit redcrossblood.org/GiveWin to learn more.

Upcoming Blood Donation Opportunities:

COOK COUNTY

6/26/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, Parkway Realty Services LLC, 8420 West Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago

6/26/2012, 10:00 am- 3:00 pm, Presidents Plaza, 8600 West Bryn Mawr, Chicago

6/26/2012, 11:00 am- 5:00 pm, Prentice Women’s Hospital, 250 E. Superior, Chicago

6/27/2012, 7:00 am- 1:00 pm, Prentice Women’s Hospital, 250 E. Superior, Chicago

6/28/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, Hines, 300 North LaSalle, Chicago

6/28/2012, 9:00 am- 3:00 pm, Loyola University Center for Fitness, 2160 S. First Ave, Maywood

6/29/2012, 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Muslim Community Center, 4380 N. Elston Ave., Chicago

6/29/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, The 175 West Jackson Building, 175 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago

6/29/2012, 12:30 pm- 4:30 pm, Doubletree by Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile, 300 E. Ohio Street, Chicago

6/30/2012, 9:00 am- 3:00 pm, H-F Raquet & Fitness Club, 2920 W. 183rd St., Homewood

6/30/2012, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Bridgeview Bank, 5117 N. Clark St., Chicago

6/30/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Life Christian Center International, 4305 St. Charles Rd., Bellwood

7/2/2012, 8:00 am- 1:00 pm, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W. North Ave, Melrose Park

7/2/2012, 11:00 am- 4:00 pm, LifeStart Fitness Center, 77 W. Wacker, Chicago

7/5/2012, 3:00 pm- 6:00 pm, American Red Cross, 544 West Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights

7/9/2012, 11:00 am- 5:00 pm, University of Chicago Red Cross Club, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

7/11/2012, 9:30 am- 2:00 pm, Marc Realty, 55 East Jackson, Chicago

7/13/2012, 1:30 pm- 4:30 pm, Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines, 480 Potter Rd, Des Plaines

7/13/2012, 1:30 pm- 5:00 pm, Islamic Community Center Of Illinois (ICCI), 6435 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

7/14/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, Free Spirit Ministerial Worship Center, 16015 Evans, South Holland

7/14/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Lowe's Home Improvement, 15601 S. LaGrange Road, Orland Park

7/15/2012, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, St. James Catholic Church, 22400 S. Torrence, Sauk Village

7/15/2012, 9:00 am- 2:30 pm, Apostolic Faith Church, 3823 S. Indiana, Chicago

DU PAGE COUNTY

7/1/2012, 8:00 am- 1:00 pm, Chicago Church of Christ, 188 W. Butterfield Road, Elmhurst

IROQUOIS COUNTY

6/26/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:30 pm, Ashkum Coliseum, 117 E Main St, Ashkum

7/11/2012, 1:00 pm- 7:00 pm, American Legion, 124 South Second Street, Cissna Park

7/11/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, First United Methodist Church, 301 S. Fourth, Watseka

KANKAKEE COUNTY

6/25/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Momence Fire Department, 15 N Pine, Momence

6/25/2012, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, Provena Heritage Lodge, 995 N Entrance Ave, Kankakee

6/28/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive, Bourbonnais

6/29/2012, 2:00 pm- 7:00 pm, Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive, Bourbonnais

6/29/2012, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Riverside Medical Center, 350 N. Wall, Kankakee

7/2/2012, 3:00 pm- 6:30 pm, Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive, Bourbonnais

7/5/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive, Bourbonnais

7/6/2012, 1:45 pm- 7:00 pm, Bourbonnais Fire Department, 1080 Armour Rd., Bourbonnais

7/7/2012, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Immanuel Baptist Church, 1300 W Hawkins, Kankakee

7/9/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Trinity Lutheran Church, 225 E. Third, Herscher

7/12/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive, Bourbonnais

WILL COUNTY

6/27/2012, 11:00 am- 4:00 pm, Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook, 550 Kildeer Drive, Bolingbrook