The American Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for blood and platelet donations, even as thousands of people answered the urgent call to donate last month.
Through the end of July, the Red Cross saw an increase of approximately 7.5 percent in the number of donors coming to give blood, resulting in more than 11,800 additional donations beyond what was anticipated. Despite the increase, blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in, maintaining the urgent need. “The Red Cross is grateful for those who stepped up to give this lifesaving gift and reminds eligible donors that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve,” said Jerry J.K. Tillery, CEO for the Red Cross Alabama and Central Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico and Southern Blood Services Regions. “As summer draws to a close, you still have the chance to give hope to patients in need.” Patients like Marquita Gaines know firsthand the importance of blood donation. She was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth and faces a lifetime of blood transfusions. Sickle cell patients have red blood cells that contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin, which can cause these cells to become sickle-shaped. When this occurs, red blood cells have difficulty passing through small blood vessels and can cause pain known as “crisis”, organ and tissue damage, stroke or anemia. Every six weeks, Marquita receives red blood cell transfusions that help her feel pain free.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. There will be a blood drive at First Baptist Church in Baxley on September 2, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 on Twitter at @RedCross.