Thousands answer the call, but Red Cross blood shortage continues

  • Wednesday, July 26, 2017 11:40am
  • News

The American Red Cross will collecting blood in Bothell on Aug. 2 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at North Creek Valley Grange to help curb a critical blood shortage.

Thousands of people have responded to the emergency call for blood and platelet donations in early July, but the summer shortage continues and the Red cross urgently needs eligible donors of all types.

Those who come out to give blood or platelets with the Red Cross July 26 through Aug. 31 will be emailed a $5 Target eGiftCard™ as a special thank you.*

After issuing the emergency call, the Red Cross has experienced a 30 percent increase in blood donation appointments through mid-July. About half of the appointments were scheduled by donors using the free Blood Donor App or at redcrossblood.org.

Despite this improvement, blood products are still being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, so more donations are needed to meet patient needs and replenish the blood supply.

“The blood supply is like a cell phone battery, it constantly needs recharging,” said Neil Tosuntikool, donor recruitment director of the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region. “We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives and encourage those who haven’t to consider rolling up a sleeve and give the gift of life. It only takes about an hour but can mean a lifetime for patients.”

The Red Cross received nearly 61,000 fewer blood donations than needed in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in early July. The shortfall was the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days.

How to help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 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.

What to know about giving blood

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Who blood and platelet donations help

Blood shortages could lead to delays in patient care, something Arthur Bourget learned firsthand after being diagnosed with leukemia in July 2007. When he arrived for his second blood transfusion, he was told the blood he needed was not available. He waited eight hours for blood to arrive and to receive the transfusion he needed that day.

“One thing that I committed to my wife was that I was going to beat leukemia, no matter what, and I was going to do that,” said Bourget. “But what I wasn’t going to be able to do was survive without the blood that I needed.”

Bourget went into remission following a successful treatment plan, which included 28 blood and 34 platelet transfusions. He has been a faithful advocate for blood donations ever since.

“If it wasn’t for the generosity of volunteer blood donors, I would not be here today,” he said. “My daughter would not have a father, and my wife would not have a husband. Thank you and please give blood. You may never know the life you have saved, but I guarantee they will never forget you.”

* Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at redcrossblood.org/summer. The Bullseye Design, Target and Target GiftCard are registered trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. Terms and conditions are applied to gift cards. Target is not a participating partner in or sponsor of this offer.

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