The American Red Cross blood supply has reached emergency levels with 50,000 fewer donations than expected in June. This shortfall leaves the Red Cross with half the readily available blood products on hand now than this time last year.
The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region is seeking to collect nearly 9,000 units of red blood cells over the next two weeks. Each and every blood donation is crucial. To reach its goal, the Red Cross is adding emergency blood drives and extending blood drive hours and scheduled drives. In addition, the Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, blood drive sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
The Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors – now more than ever – to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All blood types are needed, especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer. Eligible volunteer blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossblood.org to find a blood drive and to make appointments.
An unseasonably early start to spring may be a contributing factor to this year’s decrease in donations. Many regular donors got an early start on summer activities and aren’t taking time to give blood or platelets. In addition, this year’s mid-week Independence Day holiday has reduced the number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives. Many sponsors, especially businesses, are unable to host drives because employees are taking extended vacations.
Unfortunately, patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood products. The need is constant. Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are used for many different kinds of treatments. They include accident and burns, heart surgery, organ transplants, complications during childbirth and for patients receiving treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease.