The 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 taking time to give blood or platelets. In addition, this year's midweek 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. Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are used for many different kinds of treatments. They include accident and burns, heart surgery, organ transplants, complications during childbirth and for patients receiving treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease.
"Blood must be available at a moment's notice when seconds count to help save or sustain a life. We have reached an emergency situation and the blood will not be there without the immediate response of volunteer blood donors," said Donna M. Morrissey, director, communications, American Red Cross Blood Services – Northeast Division. "The Red Cross relies upon generous blood donors so we can supply blood when and where it is needed. Right now, patients in hospitals across the country need you to roll up your sleeve and give the gift of lifesaving blood."
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Region is seeking to collect more than 1,800 units over the next two weeks. Each and every blood donation is crucial. To reach its goal, the Red Cross is adding emergency blood drives and extending blood drive hours and scheduled drives. In addition, the Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, blood drive sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.
As a special thank you for helping to turn the tide against a potential shortage, all presenting donors in July will receive a coupon for a free* carton of Friendly's Ice Cream, redeemable at any participating Friendly's restaurant.