Blood supply is low, prompting a need for more people to give this summer

The American Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region issued an appeal Monday for blood donors.

Many donors are busy or traveling, school is out of session and a decrease in donations in May and June has foreshadowed the traditional summertime decline in donations, said Daphne Mathew, Red Cross spokeswoman. Even though demand for blood remained steady during this same period, the decrease in donations means the Red Cross needs people - now more than ever - to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible.

All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient.

The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states in the past three months alone, delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires, she added. But there's another, more personal, kind of disaster, which can happen to anyone at any time if blood is needed and it's not available.

'As a physician, I have seen firsthand how blood transfusions can truly help save lives,' said Dr. Mary Jo Drew, medical director for the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region. 'The potential for a blood shortage could have a devastating effect on a patient whose survival may depend on blood being there when needed.'

Everyone knows someone who has needed a blood transfusion, and those personal stories from our loved ones, friends and neighbors highlight just how important each and every blood donation can be, Mathew said. Because of that, the Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.

The Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to more than 80 hospitals and must have about 1,100 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day.

There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source.

Eligible blood donors are asked to call 1-800-733-2767 or visit to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.

Are you eligible to give blood?

Blood donors must be 17 or older, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in generally good health. Donors are asked to bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of identification when they show up to donate.

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