Great Lakes Region Critical Blood Shortage
Local Red Cross Blood Supply Drops to Critically Low Levels
Red Cross extends blood drive hours, asks eligible blood donors
to make and keep appointments
Media Contact: Monica Stoneking
Lansing, MI, July 11, 2011 – The American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region is facing a critical blood shortage and today issued an appeal for blood donors.
Many donors are busy or traveling, school is out of session and donations in May and June dropped to the lowest levels the Red Cross has seen during this timeframe in more than a dozen years. Demand for blood remained steady during this same period, which is why the Red Cross needs people—now more than ever—to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient.
The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states over the past three months alone – delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there’s another, more personal, kind of disaster which can happen to anyone at any time if blood is needed and is not available.
Chuck Warner of Dimondale, MI knows firsthand about the importance of blood donation. As a high school Chemistry teacher, Warner encouraged his fellow teachers and eligible students to donate blood. Then, in 1987, his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and endured numerous platelet transfusions during her 2 1/2 year treatment.
“My daughter wouldn’t have received the treatment she did if it weren’t for the kind people who took time out of their lives to help save hers,” Warner said.
Warner’s daughter has been in remission for more than 11 years and he is now an avid platelet donor as well. Asked why he continues to donate blood and platelets, Warner doesn’t hesitate with his answer.
“I want to be able to give others the opportunity for a chance at life like some complete strangers did for my daughter. I don’t know who they are, but without them, my daughter would not be alive today.”
Warner’s story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be. Because of that, the Red Cross is extending blood drive hours and reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to assist in recruiting blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the Great Lakes Region and the United States.
The Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to hospitals across the state of Michigan and must have at least 700 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
In an effort to help increase donor turnout, the Red Cross has partnered with Meijer to offer every person who comes out to donate, the chance to win free groceries ($250 value). In addition, everyone who comes out to donate also has a chance to win $125 in gas from Meijer and a $500 Best Buy gift card.
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.
Eligible 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 an appointment.
Please Note: Red Cross representatives are available for interviews with the media. Please contact the communications representative listed above to arrange interviews or access to blood drives for members of the media.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.