American Red Cross Issues Emergency Call for Blood Donors Now

July 3, 2012


Now thru July 31, all presenting donors receive a Rock-n-Roll themed t-shirt.

Wichita, Kan.−June 2012The 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 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, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand this summer.

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 making 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. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies – when there are complications during childbirth – and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

“Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood for patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Of that, the Central Plains Blood Services Region must collect approximately 500 pints per day,” said Terri Dunaway, CEO of the American Red Cross Central Plains Blood Services Region, serving most of Kansas and Northern Oklahoma. “We need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met this summer. Each pint of whole blood may help save more than one life.”

“There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren’t readily available or in a worst-case scenario, have to forego a more serious procedure because of a shortage of blood,” CEO Terri Dunaway added. “Our goal is to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Thanks to 35 blood donors, Kansan Ted Hodges is alive today. On June 6, 2009, Ted’s heart stopped, his lungs weren’t working, his kidneys were shutting down and his liver was failing. In one short day he’d gone from being a strong, Division I athlete to lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life. Miraculously, Ted survived a trip from Salina, Kan. to Kansas City where doctors, nurses and technicians at St. Luke’s kept him alive with machines for 103 days leading up to his heart transplant in September 2009. Even during this time, his heart-lung machine malfunctioned twice, and family feared the worst. After receiving a new heart, Ted spent almost a year recovering, gaining strength and learning how to speak again. In the fall of 2010, he was finally able to finish his senior year at Notre Dame. Now, he is pursuing a career in perfusion therapy to help patients just like himself.

Ted’s story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be. Because of this need, the Central Plains Region is extending blood drive hours and reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients throughout Kansas this summer.

Rock-n-Roll Campaign Incentives:
Shake, rattle and roll into a Red Cross blood drive from now through July 31, and you’ll be eligible to win a Gibson guitar, courtesy of The Gibson Foundation. All presenting donors will also receive a rock and roll themed t-shirt while supplies last. And, as a special incentive for our young donors, anyone ages 16 to 21 may enter to win a $5,000 scholarship!

Wichita Center Hours:
The Wichita Blood Donor Center, 707 N. Main, is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Sunday each month. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. 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 Kansas), 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 or join our blog at