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The number of blood donations usually drops off during the summer months, but the American Red Cross has now issued an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors.
The organization is encouraging new donors to step up, and requesting that those who haven't donated for a while take an hour and donate again.
Laura McGuire, external communications manager for Red Cross in Wisconsin, says the shortages usually are most significant around and just after the Independence Day holiday, but this year donations are down substantially. "Probably about 61,000 donations in the last two months that we're down, and that is a nationwide number," she states. "Here in the Wisconsin market, we are probably nearly about 300 donations down."
One of the reasons blood donations drop off in the summertime is because schools and colleges are on break, and don't schedule blood drives again until the fall. McGuire says the Red Cross has added more than 25,000 additional appointment slots at donation centers across the nation to try to accommodate more donors. According to McGuire, Wisconsinites should find it very easy to donate. "They can either call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment or they can always go to our website, RedCrossBlood.org," she says. "There you will be able to make appointments and check your eligibility as to what the process is all about."
There are literally hundreds of blood donation opportunities at locations all across the state during July. McGuire says every two seconds in the United States, blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies involving accident and burn victims, heart surgery, organ transplants and those undergoing cancer treatments. She asks people to consider their own family. "Look around their family table and just kind of picture what happens if there's not blood available to someone sitting around your table," she points out. "And it's an easy process, it takes about an hour. A little pinch in the arm and you can save someone's life."
McGuire says the Red Cross is looking for all blood types, and another easy way to find a donation opportunity near you is to go to redcross.org/give-blood-search and enter your ZIP code.