The American Red Cross is urging blood and platelet donors of all types to roll up a sleeve and donate following an emergency call after fewer donations were made in June and the first week of July.
Across the country, donations through the Red Cross were down an estimated 10 percent in June. Organizers say about 50,000 donations that were expected never arrived.
The shortfall is similar to one seen by the Red Cross last year, and the organization said June is among the most challenging months for blood and platelet collection because regular donors often delay giving while they adjust to their summer schedules.
Another contributing factor is the break in high school and college blood drives, which supply up to 20 percent of the donations taken in during the school year. The Red Cross says donations made by those who participate in school drives drop by 80 percent during the summer months.
This year's mid-week Independence Day holiday also reduced the number of blood drives, according to the organization. Typically, many businesses and sponsors will host blood drives near the holiday, but most were unable to this year due to extended vacations.
Given these factors, the organization said it urgently needs donors to boost the blood supply and said platelet donations are also critically needed.
"We are counting on generous volunteer blood and platelet donors to step up and give now," said Geoff Kaufmann, CEO for the Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region. "Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need."
Donors with O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give.
HOW TO DONATE
Anyone can call 1-800-733-2767 or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ to make an appointment or request more information.
Donors will need to bring either their donor card or driver's license as well as two other forms of identification to check in.
There are some restrictions on who can donate. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. In Minnesota, 16-year-olds may donate with parental consent. Teens aged 17 and older may donate without parental consent as long as they meet height and weight requirements.
- Make a Blood Donation Appointment: http://www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation
- Host a Blood Drive: http://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-blood-drive
- Blood Donation Eligibility Requirements: http://bit.ly/1dflD39
- Parental Consent for Blood Donation form [PDF]: http://bit.ly/10LnNVB
- Parental Consent for Blood Donation form in Spanish [PDF]: http://bit.ly/12fP2W5