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Donate Blood or Platelets to Celebrate Independence Day

The Independence Day holiday always makes it more difficult for the American Red Cross to collect enough donations to keep up with hospital patient needs, and this year is no exception. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to make an appointment now to help ensure a sufficient supply.

In the 30 minutes it takes to watch a fireworks show, 900 people will need blood or platelets.

It might be someone like Tina Bishop.

BISHOP’S STORY While celebrating Independence Day last summer, Bishop noticed her arm appeared blue. A visit to the doctor revealed a mass around her heart and a diagnosis of primary mediastinal large diffused B-cell lymphoma.

Bishop, mom to toddler Brynn, bravely underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, 21 radiation treatments and received several blood transfusions between July and December 2015.

HOLIDAY WEEKEND PROMOTION In a recent survey of Red Cross blood donors, more than 75 percent indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the week before and after July 4. Nearly 650 fewer blood drives are held the week of July 4 than an average week. That is approximately the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting blood donations at any drives for an entire day.

This year, consider honoring this momentous event in our nation’s history by helping others. As a special thank you, those who make time to donate blood or platelets from July 1 through 5 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross lunch cooler, while supplies last.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

Whole blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most 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.

Platelet donors can roll up a sleeve every seven days, up to 24 times year. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation. It’s important that eligible platelet donors give as often as possible to help ensure this potentially lifesaving blood product is available for patients whenever and wherever needed.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

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About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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