As the emergency call for blood and platelet donations continues, the American Red Cross asks eligible donors to make an appointment now to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients in need.
August is a popular month for end of summer family vacations and get-togethers, weekend trips to the beach or pool, or shopping for back-to-school supplies. At the same time, many patients and their families across the country are focused on lifesaving medical treatments, which often include a blood transfusion. Patients like five-year-old Robyn Ulrey of Farmland, Indiana, and her family.
Like many girls her age, Robyn loves nature and is particularly fond of butterflies. She has an adorable smile, appreciation for colorful dresses and just started kindergarten this year.
Robyn is also fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia – a type of cancer in which the bone marrow overproduces immature white blood cells. She has received blood and platelet transfusions on multiple occasions to aid in her treatment.
“Robyn is the strongest kid I’ve ever seen,” said her mother, Katherine Ulrey. “The way she pulls through these painful and exhausting medical appointments and still manages a smile is truly inspiring.”
Katherine hosts Red Cross blood drives in her daughter’s honor and is extremely thankful to those whose donations have already helped Robyn.
“Without blood donors, we would have lost Robyn the day we finally discovered what was wrong. We’re so grateful!”
Right now, platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by those who are extremely ill such as cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation – so new donations are constantly needed.
It’s important that eligible individuals give platelets as often as possible to help ensure this potentially lifesaving blood product is available for patients like Robyn.
Unlike whole blood, which can be safely donated every 56 days, platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year. One donation can help as many as three patients.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Summer blood shortages can be overcome when generous volunteers roll up their sleeves to restock the shelves.
To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Platelets and all blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.
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 or platelets. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can also 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, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.