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Critical Red Cross blood shortage prompts emergency call for donations

Give blood or platelets now and help save lives

American Red CrossNashville, TN – The American Red Cross is facing a critical blood shortage and is issuing 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 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) giving blood drive in support of the local Red Cross at Fort Campbell, KY. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina)
The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) giving blood drive in support of the local Red Cross at Fort Campbell, KY. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina)

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,” said Tiffany Taylor, external communications manager of the Tennessee Valley Blood Services Region. “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.

Who Blood Donations Help

Because of generous donors, the Red Cross is able to provide blood products to patients like six-year-old Elli Creecy of Lawrenceburg. When Elli was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor, a mass of cancer cells in kidney tissue, her family learned firsthand how important blood donations could be.

Since her diagnosis in April 2016, Elli has had surgery to remove the tumor and one of her kidneys. She received one pint of blood while completing chemotherapy treatments. Today, Elli is only receiving routine checkups to ensure her cancer stays in remission.

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.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities July 5th-25th

Fort Campbell Commissary, 2606 Indiana Avenue, Fort Campbell, KY. 42223
July 18th, 2017: 10:00am – 3:00pm

19th Air Support Operations Squadron, 7146 Market Garden Road, Fort Campbell, KY. 42223
July 19th, 2017: 9:30am – 3:30pm

Family Life Center, 713 W. College Street, Dickson, TN. 37055
July 7th, 2017: 2:30pm – 7:30pm

Dickson Cumberland Presbyterian, 500 Highway 70 E., Dickson, TN. 37055
July 13th, 2017: 12:30pm – 5:30pm

American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street, Clarksville, TN. 37043
July 5th, 2017: 11:30am – 4:30pm
July 10th, 2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm
July 24th, 2017: 10:30am – 4:30pm

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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross


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