Summer holidays and vacations, severe storms and the extreme heat are keeping donors away from blood drives, creating an emergency need for people to give blood. The American Red Cross urges anyone who is eligible to schedule a time to give blood now.
Blood donations through the Red Cross are at the lowest they have been in 15 years. People with all blood types are needed, and donors with blood types O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative are especially encouraged to give at this time.
WHO CAN GIVE Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give blood with parental permission. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
To make an appointment to give blood, or get more information about being a donor, people can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or go online to redcrossblood.org.
BLOOD HELPS PEOPLE OF ALL AGES Thousands of blood donations are needed every day to help treat accident victims, cancer patients, children with blood disorders and patients like Ella Cook, who at the tender age of four has already had three open-heart surgeries.
Ella was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a rare and complex heart defect – before she was born. The left side of her heart was too small to send enough blood to her body. She had her first surgery just six days after her birth and a Red Cross donor’s type O positive blood was used to sustain her. Four months later, Ella underwent a second surgery on her tiny heart and again relied on donated blood. Recently, Ella underwent a third surgery. This time she didn’t need a blood transfusion, but the hospital had blood available if she needed it.
Dave and Jenny Cook recognize the vital part blood donations played in their daughter’s surgeries. “There’s a stranger in Ella’s story that we don’t even know,” said Jenny. “I’m very thankful that someone out there gave blood. That person helped to save our daughter’s life.”
JUST TWO MORE The Red Cross estimates that if at least two extra donors gave blood at every through the rest of July, above what the drive already expects to collect, there would be enough blood on the shelves to meet patient needs. About every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to learn more and schedule an appointment today to donate.