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Critical Blood Shortage: Red Cross Urges Blood Donors to Give Now

While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs. 

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products. 

“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.” 

Every two seconds 

In the U.S., every two seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds. 

“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Poulin. 

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood. 

All blood types urgently needed 

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 gift card claim code. To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times. 

Upcoming blood donation opportunities July 25-Aug. 15 

Cook County 


7/31/2016: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Jones College Prep, 700 S. State Street 

8/9/2016: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Drive 

8/12/2016: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Centered Studios, 7009 N Glenwood Ave 


7/28/2016: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Generations at Regency, 6631 N. Milwaukee Ave 


8/2/2016: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Loyola University Center for Fitness, 2160 S. First Ave, Loyola Center for Fitness 


8/15/2016: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Brookfield Zoo Discovery Center, 3300 Golf Road 


Kankakee County 


7/28/2016: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive 

8/4/2016: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive 

8/11/2016: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kankakee Blood Donation Center, 20 Heritage Drive 


8/3/2016: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Herscher Christian Church, 30 Tobey Drive


Lake County 


8/7/2016: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., Members Church of God International, 3575 E. Grand Ave 


Will County


7/27/2016: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1293 Windham Parkway 


8/11/2016: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Fry Family YMCA of Metro Chicago, 2120 W. 95th Street 

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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.