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Red Cross Encourages Type O Negative Blood Donors to Give

  • Terry Comstock is an O negative donor and has been giving blood since the 1970s.
    Terry Comstock is an O negative donor and has been giving blood since the 1970s.
  • Carla Randecker is an O negative donor and knows firsthand its importance.
    Carla Randecker is an O negative donor and knows firsthand its importance. Carla received blood in 1995 after being involved in an accident with a semi-truck.
…Wow, someone gave their blood for me. I made a promise that day to do the same.

The American Red Cross has a significant need for type O negative blood donors to donate blood for patients. O negative is the universal blood type that can be given to patients of any blood type.

While all blood types are needed, type O negative donations are important during emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type. Because there is such a high demand for type O negative blood, O negative donors are needed to donate often.

PAYING IT FORWARD THROUGH BLOOD DONATION Carla Randecker knows firsthand about the importance of O negative blood. In 1995, a semi-truck failed to halt at a stop sign, changing Randecker’s life forever. She suffered a broken neck and femur. She woke from surgery to see a bag of blood attached to her IV.

“I’m O negative, a rarity,” said Randecker. “All I remember was, wow, someone gave their blood for me. I made a promise that day to do the same. When I was well enough, I’d return the favor.”

Randecker became a regular blood donor and gave for many years. This past year, her family fulfilled her wish to give blood together. Five of the family members who gave were type O negative, and since then, donating blood has become a family tradition.

“If I teach them nothing else, it’s that they should always, always, do for others,” said Randecker.

Eligible donors with type O negative blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or double red cell donation, where available, through the Red Cross. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.

Those who come to donate now through May 15, 2016, will be entered to win four single-day tickets to any of 10 Cedar Fair theme parks in the U.S. For a full list of participating parks, visit redcross.cedarfair.com.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TO GIVE This spring, help patients in need by donating blood or platelets. Accident and burn victims, organ transplant patients, heart surgery patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may need blood products.

To schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit redcrossblood.org or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App. 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.

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.

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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