The American Red Cross is experiencing a national blood shortage. Fewer donors than needed gave this summer, drawing down the national blood supply and reducing distributions of some of the most needed blood types to hospitals. Hurricane Idalia further strained the blood supply with blood drive cancellations and reduced blood and platelet donations in affected areas.
Donors of all blood types are urgently needed, and there is an emergency need for platelet donors and type O blood donors to make an appointment to give now to ensure patients across the country continue to receive critical medical care.
When Idalia slammed into the Southeast – leading to widespread power outages, travel hazards and flooding – the storm also forced the cancellation of over a dozen blood drives and caused hundreds of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This compounded a shortfall of about 30,000 donations in August. Right now, blood product distributions to hospitals are outpacing the number of blood donations coming in.
SICKLE CELL AWARENESS MONTH
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, an important time to raise awareness about the more than 100,000 individuals with sickle cell disease in the U.S. Most people with the disease are of African descent and require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. For students with sickle cell disease, the challenges of missing school due to sickle cell pain crises, hospitalizations and medical appointments can create social isolation.
This is why in September and October the Red Cross is launching Joined by Blood and teaming up with partners in the Black community — such as 100 Black Men of America, Inc., Kier’s Hope Foundation, Inc. and others — to host blood drives and encourage blood donors who are Black to support the blood transfusion needs of patients with sickle cell disease. Joined by Blood is a fall activation of the Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative which represents the powerful connection between blood donors and patients, since 1 in 3 African American blood donors are a match for people with sickle cell disease.
In thanks for helping to replenish the blood supply this month, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Sept. 1-18 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. The Red Cross is also offering free sickle cell trait screening for people who self-identify as African American or multiracial. Those who come to give throughout September will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts. Plus, they’ll be automatically entered for a chance to a win a VIP NASCAR racing experience. Details are available at rcblood.org/racetogive.
The Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors now. Schedule an appointment to give by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.