The American Red Cross has issued an urgent call for eligible blood and platelet donors this summer—type O in particular is critically needed—to replenish the blood supply.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. People like Lily Dotson, who was diagnosed with leukemia in December, 2011, depend on generous blood donors to help them in their fight against cancer.
In December, 2011, Dotson was just five years old and recently diagnosed with leukemia. Her doctors put her on an aggressive treatment plan which included multiple blood transfusions, chemo and other treatments. Though her diagnosis was terrifying and her treatment plan was initially frightening, her fight inspired her community to come together to help save not only her life but other lives by rolling up their sleeves and donating blood.
The young girl’s elementary school, Wheeler Elementary, has hosted numerous blood drives over the years. But following Dotson’s diagnosis in 2011, the annual drive was elevated to a whole new level as students learned firsthand the importance of donating blood. Tracy Logan, principal of Wheeler Elementary School, said, “Blood drives are a great way to teach our 650 students about life’s most important lessons which are much bigger than math or reading or writing. It became apparent she (Lily) would be our reason for rallying the troops and making our blood drive a success.” Since then, the Wheeler Elementary School blood drive has grown to a bi-annual event, collecting more than 1,600 units of blood and recruiting more than 160 new blood donors.
“It is more than a blood drive, it’s a gym filled with love and a community helping to save lives together, while giving great hope,” said Lily’s mom, Susie Dotson.
In 2014, this student received the Red Cross Lifesaving Award for all her efforts to help recruit new blood donors and collect much-needed blood donations for patients. Today, she is 11 years old and heading into middle school. She has been cancer free for four years.
This summer roll up a sleeve for patients in need
All eligible individuals—especially type O blood donors—are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too. When donors come to give between July 30 and August 30, they will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, as our way of saying thanks during this urgent time.
The Red Cross encourages individuals to complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass can now be completed on mobile devices through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.