As the urgent need for many blood types continues during the final weeks of summer, American Red Cross blood donors demonstrate it’s never too late to roll up a sleeve to help patients in need.
HELPING SAVE LIVES FOR 60 YEARS Jack Hefley, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, started giving blood when he was a teenager. Now, he’s working on his 23rd gallon of blood donated through the Red Cross. Sixty years later, Jack continues to donate and help save lives.
“Some people don’t give because it hurts, but it doesn’t bother me,” said Hefley. “I give because it is just something to help someone else and give back.”
FIRST TIME BLOOD DONOR AT AGE 76 Ethel and Tom Toliver always wanted to donate blood, but never got around to it. That is until they realized firsthand how important it was. When their great grandson was born, he needed blood to survive. At age 76, Ethel recently donated for the first time at the Red Cross Donation Center in Tulsa. Unfortunately, Tom was unable to give, but he was there by his wife’s side to support her.
“Somebody donated blood so our great grandson could live, and I wanted to give to help someone else,” said Ethel. “It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to do it again!”
MANY BLOOD TYPES URGENTLY NEEDED NOW Roll up a sleeve today. The Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for eligible blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood to give now. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. Individuals with these blood types are urged to make and keep donation appointments as soon as possible to help replenish the blood supply.
Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed to help ensure the shelves are stocked for patients in need. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, surgical patients and bone marrow recipients – must be transfused within five days of donation. Donors with type AB blood are also urgently needed to restock the plasma supply. Type AB donors have the universal plasma type, which can be given to patients of all blood types. Plasma is often needed for burn, trauma and clotting deficiency patients. Plasma can be collected during a blood or platelet donation.
HOW TO DONATE Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. 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. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.