BANGOR — Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.
About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available – and less than a two-day supply of type O blood – for patients. At least a five-
day supply is desired.
“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.”
Missing Types sees encouraging response, but all donors needed now. In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors – especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years – to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months. Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O – letters that make up the main blood groups – disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages. Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed, and nearly 700 fewer here in the Northern New England Blood Services Region, causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.
“Blood is only available when generous blood and platelet donors roll up a sleeve to give, and right now, all donors – especially those give have never given or haven’t given in a while – are urged to make an appointment to give today,” said Numark.
Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.
Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities during July:
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Friday, July 19, University of Maine, Olsen Student Center, 11 South St., Farmington.
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, Verso Paper, 300 Riley Road, Jay.
1:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, Sedgwick Elementary School, 272 Snow’s Cove Road, Sedgwick.
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, Camden National Bank Blue Hill, 9 Tenney Hill, Blue Hill
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, Emerson Hall, 67 Court St., Castine.
1-6 p.m. Monday, July 15, Senator Inn & Spa, 284 Western Avenue, Augusta.
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20, Knights of Columbus, 109 Spring St., Gardiner.
1-7 p.m. Monday, July 29, Penney Memorial Church, 393 Water St., Augusta.
9:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, Kennebec Valley YMCA, 31 Union St., Augusta.
1-6 p.m. Friday, July 12, YMCA, 116 Union St., Rockport.
12:30-5:30 p.m. Monday, July 15, First Congregational Church of Camden, 55 Elm St.
1-6 p.m. Thursday, July 25, American Legion Rockland, 335 Limerock St., Rockland.
1-6 p.m. Thursday, July 18, Boothbay YMCA, 261 Townsend Avenue, Route 27, Boothbay.
1-6 p.m. Thursday, July 18, Second Congregational Church, 51 Main St., Newcastle.
12-5 p.m. Friday, July 12, Shindigs, 453 Wilson St., Brewer.
12-5 p.m. Friday, July 19, Corinth United Methodist Church, 275 Main St., Corinth.
11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Friday, July 19, Old Town United Methodist Church, 726 Stillwater Avenue, Old Town.
12-5 p.m. Monday, July 22, Bangor Chamber of Commerce, 2 Hammond St. Suite 1, Bangor.
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, DHHS Bangor, 396 Griffin Road, Bangor
10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Thursday, July 25, Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main St., Bangor.
1-6 p.m. Monday, July 29, Bears One Stop, 80 Moosehead Trail, Newport.
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, Alfond Arena, Tunk Road.
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20, Church of the Nazarene, 81 Main St., Fairfield.
12-5 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, Steelworkers Union Hall, 653 Waterville Road, Skowhegan.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, July 29, Belfast YMCA, 157 Lincolnville Avenue, Belfast.
1-6 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, Unity Community Market, 368 Thorndike Road, Unity.
2-7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, Eastport Youth Center, 2 Staniels Road, Eastport.
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, Machias Savings Bank Machias, 4 Center St., Machias.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for- profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.