Red Cross Blood Donors Step Up; Urgent Need Remains

Leroy Straight averages 20-24 visits per year to the Donor Center to give platelets.
All eligible donors are encouraged to make and keep donation appointments to help prevent an emergency situation.

An urgent need for blood and platelets remains, even as ten thousand blood donors have answered the urgent call to donate issued by the American Red Cross. Donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative are especially needed right now.

Since the urgent request began, the Red Cross has seen an increase of approximately 9 percent in the number of donors coming to give blood, resulting in more than 10,400 additional units from what was expected. While the Red Cross is grateful for those who stepped up to give this lifesaving gift, hospital patients are still counting on generous donors to roll up a sleeve and help prevent an emergency shortage.

Donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 8 percent from the beginning of May through mid-July, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than anticipated. Right now, blood products are being distributed to area hospitals almost as quickly as donations are coming in.

On average, the Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. It’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives in an emergency — such as the deadly tornado that hit Virginia Beach last week. As a national network, the Red Cross was able to send 45 units of blood and platelets to help patients in area hospitals.

THE HALFWAY POINT IS HERE July marks the halfway point in the challenging summer months. While many donors are still enjoying summer activities, patients are unable to take a vacation from needing lifesaving blood. In fact, the need for blood is constant, and every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion. Individuals who donated blood earlier this summer may now be eligible to donate again and help patients such as accident victims, heart surgery patients, children with blood disorders and others.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and individuals can give platelets 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.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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