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Red Cross enters third week of emergency blood and platelet shortage

Donations needed now to help those battling cancer and other serious conditions
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 11:01 AM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The American Red Cross continues to experience an emergency blood and platelet shortage that has caused the blood supply to drop to the lowest post-summer level in at least six years.

With less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks, the Red Cross asks donors of all blood types – especially type O − to make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible to ensure patients can receive the lifesaving transfusions they rely on. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds from summer blood shortages, but a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. due to the delta variant has contributed to the lowest donor turnout of the year. To shore up inventory, the Red Cross must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week this month to meet hospital and patient needs.

Donors are asked to make an appointment

All those who come to donate in October will receive a link by email to claim a free Zaxby’s® Signature Sandwich reward or get a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice* Plus, all those who come to give Oct. 11-31 will receive a bonus $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice**

Blood donations help those with breast cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Red Cross is reminding donors of the importance of blood to those undergoing treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 1.9 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. this year, and more than 281,000 of those individuals will have breast cancer.

Patients with breast cancer and other cancers may need blood products on a regular basis during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications. In fact, nearly 25% of the blood supply is used by cancer patients.

People across the country depend on the kindness of blood donors. Donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-73-2767).

American Red Cross Blood Platelet Drive
American Red Cross Blood Platelet Drive(BILL WOLF | (AP Photo/Bill Wolf))

Blood drive safety

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Oct.16-31:

- Immanuel Baptist Church, 104 Western Hills Drive, Glasgow, KY 42141

10/21/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

-Marion County High School, 735 East Main Street, Lebanon, KY 40033

10/28/2021: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

-River Lake Church, 2870 North Jackson Highway, Glasgow, KY 42141

10/25/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Save time during donation

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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 must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Health insights for donors

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

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