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Red Cross: Blood needed as donations fall short

The American Red Cross issued Tuesday morning an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types after blood donations dropped in June and the first week of July.

“We are counting on generous volunteer blood and platelet donors to step up and give now,” said Steve Stegeman, chief executive officer for the Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services Blood Services Region. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need.”

Nationwide, donations through the Red Cross were down about 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. The shortfall is similar to what the Red Cross experienced in June 2012.

June can be among the most challenging months of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they adjust to summer schedules. High school and college blood drives account for about 20 percent of Red Cross donations during the school year. Donations from those who usually give at these drives drop by more than 80 percent when school is out for the summer.

A mid-week Independence Day holiday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July. Many sponsors, especially businesses, were unable to host drives because employees took extended vacations.

Each day, the American Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Region needs about 1,000 donors to give blood. Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood 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.

To donate, call 1-800-733-2767, or go to the website http://www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.

A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. People who are 17 (16 with parental permission 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.