American Red Cross
American Red Cross Issues Emergency Call
for Blood Donors Now; All Blood Types Needed
Massive Interfaith Community Blood Drive Working to Draw Donors in July
Oakland, CA, June 25, 2012 – 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 mid-week 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.
In an effort to maintain the community blood supply during the slow summer months, the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region has been working with faith groups throughout the Bay Area to coordinate a massive, month-long community blood drive in July.
The second annual Interfaith Community Blood Drive, which comprises more than 80 individual blood drives, is the largest single blood drive in the history of the Northern California Blood Services Region. It also is believed to be the largest church-organized blood drive in the history of the national Red Cross organization.
Sponsored by 12 different faith-based groups, the Interfaith Community Blood Drive will be held at church buildings and Red Cross facilities throughout the greater-Bay Area – reaching as far north as Ukiah and as far south as Salinas and Monterey. The month-long drive has an ambitious goal to bring in more than double the amount of blood that was collected at last year’s event; and the Northern California Blood Services Region is allocating all of its resources for the entire month to this one drive.
“The commitment made by these faith groups could not have come at a better time, and we are excited they have readily taken on this challenge,” said Jeff Meyer, CEO of the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region. “With our blood supply at emergency levels, we need donors to make appointments in the coming days and weeks to help us ensure that all patient blood needs can be met.”
Though blood donations tend to dip during the summer, the need for blood is constant. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies – when there are complications during childbirth – and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
“There is always the chance that a physician could postpone an elective surgery if the needed blood products aren’t readily available or, in a worst case scenario, have to forego a more serious procedure because of a shortage of blood.” Meyer added. “Our goal is to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org (entering sponsor code InterfaithCommunity will bring up a list of Interfaith Community blood drives).
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. 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 more than 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 join our blog at blog.redcross.org.