Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage. It has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.
About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available – and less than a two-day supply of type O blood – for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.
“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.”
Missing Types sees encouraging response, but all donors needed now
In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors – especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years – to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months. Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O – letters that make up the main blood groups – disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages.
Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed about 2,000 fewer here in the Carolinas Blood Services Region, and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.
“Blood is only available when generous blood donors roll up a sleeve to give, and right now, all donors – especially those who have never given or haven’t given in a while – are urged to make an appointment to give today,” Numark added.
How to help
Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.
Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
Saturday, July 20
22 Brevard Road, Asheville
9:30 am to 2:00 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call (828) 803-2884. Walk ins Welcome.
Tuesday, July 23
Ridgecrest Conference Center
1 Ridgecrest Drive, Black Mountain
2:00 pm to 6:30 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call Sophia Peterson at (910) 640-8291. Walk ins Welcome.
Wednesday, July 24
121 Hendersonville Road, Asheville
9:00 am to 1:30 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call Yolanda Parker at (828) 257-4406. Walk ins Welcome.
Wednesday, July 24
Buncombe County Health Center
35 Woodfin Street, Asheville
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call Christa Lance at (828) 250-4001. Walk ins Welcome.
Thursday, July 25
Black Mountain Community at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church
117 Montreat Road, Black Mountain
1:30 pm to 6:00 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call the church at (828) 669-2725. Walk ins Welcome.
Friday, July 26
Turkey Creek Baptist Church
2206 Bear Creek Road, Leicester
2:30 pm to 7:00 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call Janice Worley at (828) 777-4405. Walk ins Welcome.
Tuesday, July 30
Skyland Fire Department
9 Miller Road, Skyland
11:00 am to 3:30 pm
For more information or to schedule an appointment please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Wednesday, July 31
City of Asheville Public Works Building
161 South Charlotte Street, Asheville
7:00 am to 11:30 am
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call Alisha Carroll at (828) 259-5424 or Walk ins Welcome