Red Cross appeals for blood donors of all types

Posted July 12, 2011, at 12:30 p.m.
Photo: The Associated Press

The American Red Cross Northern New England Region has issued an appeal for blood donors of all types due to a critical blood shortage across the nation. While demand for blood products remains steady, donations to the Red Cross this summer are the lowest in over a decade. All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient. There are many contributing factors that make collecting blood difficult in the summer months. Many donors are busy or traveling and school is out of session.

“We urge eligible blood donors and first time donors to help reverse this trend and give blood to help us recover from the shortage, stated Donna M. Morrissey, Director of Communications, American Red Cross – Northeast Division. “Now more than ever – please roll up your sleeve and give blood”.

The Red Cross is} appealing 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 has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states over the past three months alone — delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. 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.

Bangor resident Amy Eyles became ill at age 18 with chest pains and was diagnosed with asthma. Her illness continued to progress and, after years of problems, she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. In 2004, Amy flew to the Cleveland Clinic Hospital for a bilateral lung transplant, a nine-hour surgery with a recovery time of more than a year. Amy needed close to 400 units of blood in a very short time. Amy’s story highlights just how important each and every blood donation can be.

The Red Cross Northern New England Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to over 80 hospitals and must have over 500 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.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of identification when you come to donate.

Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and to make an appointment.

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