American Red Cross Blood Supply Slowly Improving; More Donors Needed In August

July 31, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. – The American Red Cross is encouraged by a boost in donations since the organization issued an emergency appeal for blood donors. However, additional donations are needed to ensure an adequate supply is available through the end of the summer.

“We are humbled by the generosity of the many blood donors in the American Red Cross Midwest Blood Services Region who responded to our appeal, helping to save lives,” said Tricia Quinn, CEO of the Midwest Blood Services Region. “The Red Cross is so appreciative for each and every selfless act of giving. Our blood donors truly do this out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Across the country, nearly 15,000 donations have been given above expectations since the Red Cross first issued its appeal, cutting the blood donation deficit by approximately 30 percent to date. To keep up the momentum, the organization encourages anyone who has not yet given blood this summer to schedule an appointment and bring just two friends or family members along with them.

Although the number of blood donations has increased, the situation remains tenuous and more donors are needed in the coming weeks. If at least three additional people give at each blood drive through the end of August – above what the Red Cross already expects to collect – there would be enough blood on the shelves to meet patient needs through the end of the summer.

Donors of all blood types are needed, but eligible donors with blood type O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative are especially encouraged to give at this time. Anyone who gave blood at the start of summer may be eligible to donate again as summer comes to a close.

Thousands of blood donations are needed every day to help treat accident victims, cancer patients, children with blood disorders and patients like Ella Cook of Murray, Neb., who at the tender age of four has already had three open-heart surgeries.

Ella was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a rare and complex heart defect – before she was born. The left side of her heart was too small to send enough blood to her body. She had her first surgery just six days after her birth and a Red Cross donor’s type O positive blood was used to sustain her. Four months later, Ella underwent a second surgery on her tiny heart and again relied on donated blood. Recently, Ella underwent a third surgery. This time she didn’t need a blood transfusion, but the hospital had blood available if she needed it.

Dave and Jenny Cook recognize the vital part blood donations played in their daughter’s surgeries. “There’s a stranger in Ella’s story that we don’t even know,” said Jenny. “I’m very thankful that someone out there gave blood. That person helped to save our daughter’s life.”

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit 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 or join our blog at