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Red Cross urges blood and platelet donations to make up for expected shortfall due to Fourth of July holiday travel

by jmaloni


Mon, Jun 29th 2015 11:20 am

More than 40 percent of regular donors may be traveling and unavailable to give

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets and help prevent a summer shortage. The call for donations is supported by a recent survey of Red Cross blood and platelet donors showing more than 40 percent plan to travel the week before or after Independence Day, an indicator many eligible donors may be unavailable to give. In addition, fewer blood drives are scheduled the week before and after Independence Day, because many hosting organizations postpone blood drives while people are on vacation.

Blood donors with all types, especially O negative, A negative and B negative, and platelet donors are urged to schedule an appointment. Those who come to donate July 2-6 will receive a Red Cross-embroidered baseball cap, while supplies last. To make an appointment or for more information, download the free blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

"Adding blood or platelet donation to a vacation to-do list can mean so much to patients and their families," said Kay E. Schwartz, CEO of the Red Cross New York-Penn Blood Services Region. "It's a simple act, taking as little as an hour, but can touch many lives."

Suburban Propane steps up to support summer blood and platelet donations

Suburban Propane is the official sponsor of the Red Cross "100 days of summer. 100 days of hope" campaign. The nationwide energy provider is supporting an advertising public awareness initiative about the constant need for blood and platelet donations. It is encouraging employees and customers to give blood or platelets and volunteer at Red Cross blood drives and facilities.

"Suburban Propane is committed to giving back to our communities, and we can't think of a better way than by helping the Red Cross increase blood and platelet donations for patients in need this time of year," Suburban Propane Chief Operating Officer Mark Wienberg said. "We encourage individuals across the country to join the Suburban Propane family in rolling up a sleeve to help save lives."

Suburban Propane employee and platelet donor Will Haropolous learned the need for blood may be closer than one thinks. Haropolous stopped by a restaurant he frequents following a platelet donation, and one of the restaurant staff asked about the bandage on his arm.

"I told her that I just donated. She confided in me that she was a hemophiliac and then thanked me. By donating, you may be helping save the life of a total stranger, or it just may be someone you know," he said. 

"The Red Cross appreciates Suburban Propane, its employees and customers for raising awareness of the need for blood and platelets this summer and giving themselves," said Donna M. Morrissey, director of national partnerships, Red Cross Biomedical Services. "Their support helps the Red Cross continue to ensure blood products are available for patients whenever and wherever they are needed."

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent 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.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent 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, visit redcross.org or visit it on Twitter at @RedCross.

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