Emergency Blood Shortage: Red Cross Issues Urgent Call for Blood Donors

An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types – especially type O – to give now and help save lives.

IMG_5577

Photo Credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

 How to help

IMG_5412

Blood Donor Ken Krogulecki of Bay Village, Ohio

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

 

Who blood donations help

Because of generous donors, the Red Cross is able to provide blood products for patients like 9-month-old Krew Anderson. Krew is a happy, laid-back baby boy. His wide grin frames two tiny teeth. He likes to play with balloons and just experienced his first boat ride and fireworks show, but Krew has faced more challenges in the last four months than many people will experience in a lifetime.

In March, Krew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that causes bone marrow to produce a large number of abnormal blood cells. Since then, he has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy and received 15 blood and platelet transfusions to date.

“The first time he got [a transfusion], I was just super nervous and didn’t know really what was happening,” said his mother, Stephanie Anderson. “Now, when he gets one, I’m like, ‘Yes, please, get him some blood to help him get more energy and back to normal.’”

Krew’s father, Richard Anderson, donated blood a couple of times a year prior to his son’s diagnosis, but after seeing Krew receive blood, he now plans to give as soon as he’s eligible again.

“For me, just knowing that if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. I want to make sure there’s enough blood out there for everyone, and that there’s no shortage,” he said.

Stephanie Aholt of Strongsville also knows the value of donated blood.  It saved the life of her newborn son, Benjamin.  See and hear Stephanie’s story here.

Missing Types sees encouraging increase in new donors – all donors needed now

Facing a decline of about 80,000 new Red Cross blood donors each year for the past several years, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign in June to encourage new donors, and those who have not given recently, to donate blood. While the campaign has already inspired thousands of new donors to give, the Red Cross is now calling on all eligible blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve as soon as possible to overcome the emergency blood shortage.

Through the Missing Types campaign, which runs throughout the summer, the letters A, B and O – letters used to identify blood types – disappeared from corporate logos, celebrity social media accounts and favorite websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays in ensuring blood is never missing from hospital shelves.

Keeping Fans’ Blood Pressure in Check

By Doug Bardwell – American Red Cross volunteer

It’s June again, and Cavs fans blood pressures are rising.  It could have to do with missed free throws.  It might be due to poor calls by the selectively blind referees. Or it could be due to an opponent overly adept at shooting three-point baskets from obscene distances.

In any event, it’s NBA Finals time and collectively our blood pressures are on the rise…. which is not a good thing.

IMG_1459

Hopefully, this situation will improve shortly; but high blood pressure can be caused by a number of other factors, and it’s something that definitely needs to be monitored.

Some symptoms of dangerously high blood pressure include:

  • Severe headache
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Problems with your vision
  • Throbbing in your chest, ears or neck

If you notice these symptoms, it’s wise to seek a doctor’s help quickly. Extreme blood pressure problems could cause a stroke or heart disease.

Remedies for high blood pressure (for other than NBA-induced causes) include:

  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Regularly exercising
  • Losing weight
  • Reducing sodium in the diet
  • Cutting back on caffeine
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting use of alcohol
  • Reducing stress

One other thing everyone can do is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.  How about every eight weeks for example?

That’s how often you can donate blood, and each time you donate, you’ll get a mini-checkup from your friendly Blood Services professional at the donation site.  Iron levels and blood pressure are always checked before you donate, so you won’t develop a problem without being alerted.dougdonating

Give yourself plenty of time to get to your donation location, as blood pressure can rise needlessly if you are stressed about being late to your appointment. Fortunately, in a case like that, sitting quietly for 10-15 minutes should bring you right back to normal levels, and your pressure can be checked a second time.

To schedule your regular eight-week appointment, log on to redcrossblood.org and pick a convenient date and location. Or, you can do it quickly from the Red Cross Blood Donor App for your Android or iOS phone.

The Need Never Ends

Red Cross issues urgent call for blood and platelet donors

This January, National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give now and help address a winter blood donation shortage. Severe winter weather, in addition to seasonal illnesses and hectic holiday schedules have collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

There is a critical need for the following blood and donation types right now:

  • Platelets: The clotting portion of blood primarily given to cancer patients during treatment and always in great demand.
  • Type O negative: The blood type that can be transfused to almost everyone and is what doctors reach for in trauma situations.
  • Type B negative: The blood type that can be transfused to type B Rh-positive and negative patients.
  • Type AB: The plasma type that can be transfused to almost everyone and can be donated through a platelet or plasma donation, where available, or during a regular blood donation.

Right now, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

Eligible donors can find a blood platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, by visiting redcrossblood.org/rapidpass from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.

Thousands answer the call, but Red Cross blood shortage continues

In appreciation, $5 Target eGiftCard™ available for all those who come out to give

Thousands of people have responded to the emergency call for blood and platelet donations issued by the Red Cross in early July, but there continues to be a critical summer blood shortage. Eligible donors of all types are urgently needed.

After issuing the emergency call, the Red Cross has experienced a 30 percent increase in blood donation appointments through mid-July. About half of the appointments were scheduled by donors using the free Blood Donor App or at redcrossblood.org. Despite this improvement, blood products are still being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, so more donations are needed to meet patient needs and replenish the blood supply.

“The blood supply is like a cell phone battery, it constantly needs recharging,” said Christy Peters, external communications manager of the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region. “We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives and encourage those who haven’t to consider rolling up a sleeve and give the gift of life. It only takes about an hour but can mean a lifetime for patients.”

Nearly 61,000 fewer blood donations than needed were given through the Red Cross in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in early July. The shortfall was the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days.

How to help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

As a special thank you, those who come out to give blood or platelets with the Red Cross July 26 through Aug. 31 will be emailed a $5 Target eGiftCard™.*

 

 

What to know about giving blood

To make an appointment or more information, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

 

* Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at redcrossblood.org/summer. The Bullseye Design, Target and Target GiftCard are registered trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. Terms and conditions are applied to gift cards. Target is not a participating partner in or sponsor of this offer.

Eligible Blood Donors Needed to Help Save Lives this Summer

We are facing a critical blood shortage and have issued an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to give now and help save lives.

Blood donations have fallen short of expectations for the past two months, resulting in about 61,000 fewer donations than needed and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply. The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting any blood donations for more than four days.

It’s crucial that people donate now to meet the needs of patients every day and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood. Every day, blood and platelet donors can help save lives, and right now these heroes are needed to give as soon as possible.

How to Help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added more than 25,000 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Summer Months Lead to Shortage

Blood shortages often worsen around Independence Day due to many fewer volunteer-hosted blood drives at places of work, worship or community gathering, and this year is no exception. Nearly 700 fewer blood drives are scheduled during the Independence Day week than the weeks before and after the holiday.

Overall, the summer months are among the most challenging times of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they vacation and participate in summer activities. In a recent survey of Red Cross blood donors, more than 73 percent indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after Independence Day.

New donors and those who haven’t given in a while are especially encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives. Nearly one-third fewer new blood donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year due in part to schools – where blood drives are held and where new donors give – being out of session during the summer months.

Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant procedures, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

18th annual Bloodsuckers Buffet Wednesday, April 13

Icon BiomedJoin us for the 18th annual Bloodsuckers Buffet Wednesday, April 13, 7 a.m to 7 p.m. at Windows on the River in the Powerhouse at Nautica. All who come to donate will enjoy a 98.5 WNCX live broadcast all day, free goody bag with great gifts from our sponsors, complimentary parking, food and raffle prizes. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit redcrossblood.org and enter code “Bloodsuckers” or use the Blood Donor App to schedule your appointment today.

Donating blood at the Bloodsuckers Buffet on April 13? Save time at the blood drive by completing the new Red Cross RapidPass online health history before you go that day! To learn more and get your pass, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions.

 Every day the American Red Cross needs 14,000 blood and platelet donations to meet the needs of patients. We can’t do it without you! Join us for the 18th annual Bloodsuckers Buffet and help make a difference! The blood drive is Wednesday, April 13, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Windows on the River in the Powerhouse at Nautica. Enjoy a live broadcast with 98.5 WNCX, goody bag, complimentary parking, food and raffle prizes. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit redcrossblood.org and enter code “Bloodsuckers” or use the Blood Donor App to schedule your appointment today.

Celebrate March is Red Cross Month by Rolling Up Your Sleeves

March is Red Cross Month, and the Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors to give now to help restock its shelves following recent winter weather.

Winter storms in March forced the cancellation of more than 200 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in nearly 7,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. This shortfall follows more than 26,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations in February due to severe weather across 27 states. Regardless of the weather, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood – from cancer patients to accident victims to premature babies with complications.

March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by former President Franklin Roosevelt. Since then, every president has called on people across America to support the organization’s humanitarian mission in March.

You can help support the Red Cross and ensure blood and platelets are available for patients in need by scheduling an appointment to donate now. To find a donation opportunity near you, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also help support the Red Cross by asking others to donate or creating a SleevesUp virtual blood drive.