For many people, blood is not something they think about until someone they love needs it and its not there. The American Red Cross is trying to fix this through the help of their new partnership with Facebook. In June, Facebook launched their new blood donation feature, which allows people to sign up to be a blood donor on Facebook and receive notifications when blood banks need blood and connects them with nearby Red Cross blood donation centers.
Since launching the tool, more than one million people in the U.S. have signed up and it has helped to schedule over 600 blood donations appointments with the Red Cross. The new feature was particularly useful in helping to notify users about a nationwide Red Cross blood shortage this summer and alert people in areas unaffected by Hurricane Dorian to help recover donations cancelled by the storm.
Hurricane Dorian forced the cancellation of blood drives throughout the Southeast earlier this year. Through the Facebook blood donation feature, the Red Cross was able to send out urgent messages to users to help recover those lost donations. The posts reached over 115,000 Facebook users and helped to schedule nearly 150 blood donation appointments.
Individuals interested in signing up to become a blood donor on Facebook can visit www.facebook.com/donateblood or simply schedule a blood donation appointment through RedCrossBlood.org, the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.