Going into the long holiday weekend, the local American Red Cross region already is unable to immediately fill all blood requests from hospitals and is asking for help.
The Western Lake Erie Blood Services Region, which serves 11 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, is keeping its Toledo blood donation center open over the three-day weekend -- including Independence Day -- in hopes of attracting more donors. The center at 3510 Executive Pkwy. will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
The local Red Cross received 850 fewer units of donated blood in June compared to the same month the year before, and for the fiscal year that ended Thursday, it received 4,300 fewer units than the prior fiscal year, Annie Marckel, local Red Cross spokesman, said.
"We are definitely in a critical need right now," she said. "The past couple of weeks have just been a huge struggle."
She added, "We just need to get more donors in the door."
The Red Cross especially is in need of type O negative, the so-called universal blood type because it can be transfused to everyone and is needed for emergency situations.
Types A negative and B negative also are at insufficient levels locally, Ms. Marckel said.
The local region must collect about 300 units of blood daily to meet needs for 24 hospitals. It strives to keep a three-day supply of every blood type.
Local officials can tap into the national supply, but that also is low on O negative blood, Ms. Marckel said. They have not been able to fill orders completely from hospitals in a timely manner, she said.
Nationwide, blood donations typically take a 5 percent dip in June, July, and August compared to the spring and fall, said Stephanie Millian, national spokesman for the American Red Cross.
O negative, she said, is always in high demand nationally.
"Unfortunately, the need for blood doesn't get a vacation like the rest of us," Ms. Millian said.
Locally, Red Cross officials have been contacting faithful donors and blood-drive sites in hopes of getting more donations, Ms. Marckel said. Summer is a time of low donations because people vacation and because drives are not held at schools, she said.
Red Cross officials both nationally and locally are asking donors to give blood before leaving for vacation or when they return to help keep supplies steady.
To schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org for more information.
Following is a list of some upcoming blood drives:
Noon to 6 p.m., Monroe County American Red Cross, 1645 North Dixie Hwy., Monroe.
1 to 6 p.m., Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 7295 Kruse Rd., Petersburg, Mich.
2 to 7 p.m. Mayfair Plymouth Congregational, 5253 Bennett Rd., Toledo.
Noon to 5 p.m., Marblehead VFW 7572, 421 West Main St., Marblehead, Ohio.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dave White Chevrolet, 5880 Monroe St., Sylvania.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bowling Green Eagles Club, 1163 North Main St.; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Good Hope Lutheran Church, 300 South Main St., Arlington, Ohio.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Merkle Funeral Service, 2442 North Monroe St., Monroe.