Summer can be a great time to relax and recharge – but many patients cannot take a vacation from battling illness and injury. Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals almost as quickly as donations come in. The American Red Cross needs new and current donors to roll up a sleeve and provide a lifesaving gift for those in need.
Blood shortages often worsen around Independence Day due to many fewer volunteer-hosted blood drives, and this year is no exception. With many donors on vacation, sponsors don’t host as many blood drives at their place of work, worship or community gathering. Hundreds of fewer blood drives are held the week of July 4 than an average week.
NEW AND CURRENT DONORS NEEDED The Red Cross urges those who have never donated blood or platelets, as well as current donors, to make a donation appointment now and help sustain a sufficient blood supply this summer.
To encourage donations around the July 4th holiday, those who come to give blood or platelets from June 30 – July 5 will receive a Red Cross drawstring bag as a special thank you, while supplies last.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY Eligible donors are encouraged to make and keep donation appointments now. For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. 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. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.
Platelets must be transfused within just five days after donation – so there is a constant, often critical, need for new and current donors to give. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year.
CREATE A SLEEVESUP CAMPAIGN Creating a SleevesUp virtual blood drive online at redcrossblood.org/SleevesUp is another way to help patients in need this summer. It only takes a few minutes to start a campaign and invite colleagues, friends and family to pledge their support by making an appointment to donate at a blood drive or donation center convenient for them. Those who are not eligible to give blood, do not have a Red Cross blood donation opportunity nearby or simply want to do more can support a SleevesUp campaign by making a financial donation.