The American Red Cross on Monday asked blood and platelet donors to help prevent a summer shortage by making an appointment to roll up a sleeve around the Independence Day holiday.
With blood and platelet donation appointments currently lower than what is needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply, donors of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment now, especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative.
The Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients across the country. This can be challenging during the summer months of June, July and August, when an average of two fewer donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need.
This seasonal challenge can be overcome if just two more donors - above what is expected - make an appointment and give blood at each Red Cross blood drive the rest of the summer.
"Vacations and other summer activities often conflict with donation appointments for regular blood donors, which makes summer a very difficult time to collect blood donations," said Jared Schultzman, communications manager for the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region. "Donations decline further near summer holidays like Independence Day. A blood or platelet donation now can help sustain an adequate blood supply this summer."
To encourage more people to make time to donate blood before and after Independence Day, all presenting blood and platelet donors from June 30 through July 7 will receive a commemorative Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
Those who present to donate at a Red Cross center on July 4 also will receive a whole apple pie, while supplies last. Participating centers include Bend, Medford, Portland, Richland, Roseburg, Salem, Vancouver and Yakima.
Visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find a nearby blood donation opportunity or schedule an appointment.
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 consent 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 about 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.