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American Red Cross issues urgent plea for blood donations

Red Cross issues urgent plea for blood donations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Officials with the American Red Cross are noticing a strain on the U.S. blood supply.

The Red Cross says climate-driven disasters are forcing blood drive cancellations and many high schools stopped hosting blood drives because of the pandemic

The Red Cross, which supplies 40% of all blood in America, says it hopes to grow its supply of all blood types because the national supply has fallen by nearly 25% since early August. That equates to a shortfall of about 30,000 donations.

On Monday the nonprofit tweeted, “Fewer blood donors have come to give due to back-to-school activities, summer travel, and an already active hurricane season. If you’re eligible to donate blood or platelets, we’re urging you to make an appointment now.”

Dr. Baia Lasky with the American Red Cross says many people rely on blood for emergency help, such as patients who depend on lifesaving blood transfusions for conditions such as cancer or sickle cell disease.

“About 40% of this country’s population is eligible to donate and only about 4% do,” Lasky said.

There is also an emergency need for platelet donors and, especially, type O blood donors. Donors with type O blood are called “universal donors” because they can donate red blood cells to anybody.

“For so many patients living with urgent medical care needs, crises don’t stop with natural disasters,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, said in Monday’s announcement.

Anyone interested in making a donation should make an appointment.

“Blood cannot be manufactured. It can’t be stockpiled and, really, it’s the blood on the shelves on a daily basis that is needed to save lives,” explained Lasky. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood— an often-invisible emergency that the rest of the world doesn’t see behind closed hospital doors. Now, that urgency has only heightened.”

Use the Red Cross blood app to make a donation appointment. Consider visiting or call 1-800-Red-Cross.