Having received fewer donations than expected in June and the first week of July, the American Red Cross is asking for help.
The Red Cross issued an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all types to ensure an adequate supply is available during the summer.
Nationwide donations were down about 10 percent in June, resulting in 50,000 fewer units of donated blood than expected, said Amanda Aldrich, a spokesman for the Northwest Ohio Region American Red Cross.
“This is a pretty common event when people are on vacation, out of school, and not in their regular routine, but we have seen a more significant drop this year and in 2012 than in previous years. We want to be proactive and have blood available to save lives if necessary,” she said.
The Red Cross is in need of all blood types, but types O negative, A negative, and B negative are especially encouraged to give. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.
Ms. Aldrich said there is also an urgent need for platelets.
A key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, platelets must be transfused within five days of donation. Blood has a shelf life of 42 days, she added.
The Western Lake Erie Region, which covers 11 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, needs about 300 units of blood daily for its 24 hospitals. In June, it collected 4,773 whole blood units.
To donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. Donors must have a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification to check in. Individuals 17 and older must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health to donate; individuals 16 can donate only with parental permission.
Ms. Aldrich added that while walk-ins are permitted, the Red Cross encourages donors to call and schedule an appointment if possible.