The American Red Cross always anticipates a dip in donations during the summer months, because people are busier with summer projects and vacations, and school is out of session. About 20 percent of their donations are from college and high school blood drives. However, Bobbi Snethen with the Red Cross says even considering those factors, donations are down 10 percent more than expected, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than anticipated.
The need for blood remains constant — every two seconds someone in the nation receives a blood transfusion, Snethen says. Blood has a shelf life of 42 days, but right now as soon as the blood is donated and tested, it is being sent straight to hospital patients.
All types of blood are urgently needed to ensure an adequate blood supply is available for patients all summer long, especially O-negative, which is universal.
Snethen says platelets are also needed, to help cancer patients and folks with certain blood disorders. Blood could be used locally or somewhere else in the nation, especially in times of disaster and greater need.
Snethen encourages would-be donors to give back to their community — and enjoy some free cookies, juice, and cool air-conditioning. Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.