The American Red Cross, Greater Alleghenies Region Blood Services, is facing a critical blood shortage and last week issued an appeal for blood donors.
Many donors are busy or traveling, school is out of session and donations in May and June dropped to the lowest levels the Red Cross has seen during this time frame in over a dozen years. Demand for blood remained steady during this same period, which is why the Red Cross needs people—now more than ever—to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient.
During July, the Greater Alleghenies Region has also partnered with vendors across its 100-county service area to provide all presenting donors a coupon for a ice cream or other cool treat in appreciation for coming in to donate blood. For additional info, visit www.redcrossblood.org.
The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states over the past three months alone – delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there's another, more personal, kind of disaster which can happen to anyone at any time if blood is needed and it's not available.
"As a physician, I have seen first-hand how blood transfusions can truly help save lives," said John Nobiletti, MD, PhD, Medical Director, Greater Alleghenies Region. "However, a critical blood shortage like the one we're experiencing right now could have a devastating effect on a patient whose survival may depend on blood being there when needed."
The Red Cross, Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to more than 90 hospitals and must have approximately 1,000 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate.
Eligible blood donors are asked to please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.