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American Red Cross Blood Donations Low in July as Temperatures Peak

Missouri-Illinois

July 19, 2012
 

Just a few additional blood donors at remaining blood drives could boost supply

 

With extreme heat keeping some donors at home and severe storms forcing the cancellation of dozens of blood drives earlier in the month, the American Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for donors of all blood types. If at least two additional donors give at each blood drive through the end of July – above what the American Red Cross already expects to collect - the blood supply would be sufficient to meet patient needs.

 

Red Cross blood donations are at the lowest they have been in 15 years. Public support from the organization’s late-June appeal helped temporarily stop a decline in the blood supply. However, the mid-week Independence Day and extreme summer weather have contributed to a decrease in donations lately.

 

“We cannot thank enough the blood donors who have already rolled up a sleeve this summer,” said Scott Caswell, CEO of the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “We appreciate the support from donors across the region.  We’re encouraging all eligible donors who didn’t have a chance to give yet to step up and help patients by making an appointment, as well as those who gave earlier in the spring and are now again eligible.” 

 

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is dedicated to ensuring that every patient who needs a lifesaving transfusion is able to receive one. In fact, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood each day to meet the needs of patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

 

Consider the story of St. Louis woman Judy Wideman.  Wideman had known for five years that, because of cirrhosis of the liver, she would eventually need a transplant.  After several weeks on a waiting list, Wideman finally got the call in February, 2011 that a match had been found.  She went into surgery on February 15, and says doctors had anticipated a difficult surgery, but perhaps not as bad as what actually happened.

 

“At some point in the surgery I started bleeding,” Wideman said.  “I bled profusely.  They couldn’t get it to stop, and just kept filling me with new blood.”

 

Wideman received approximately 36 units of blood, and believes those units are why she’s alive today.

 

“The (new) liver would not have done any good if I hadn’t had the blood,” she said.  “I feel very grateful to the Red Cross and the people who donate blood.”

Wideman’s story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be. All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply. Donors with type O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative blood are especially encouraged to give this summer.

 

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), 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. 

 

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.