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Critical blood shortage: Red Cross urges blood and platelet donors to give now 


LANSING, Mich.—While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.

“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Todd Kulman, External Communications Manager of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”

Every two seconds

In the U.S., every two seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds.

“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Poulin.

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.

All blood types urgently needed

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood donor app (redcross.org/bloodapp), visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of an online health history questionnaire (redcrossblood.org/rapidpass) are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

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Blood donations fall due to cold weather

Donors needed throughout Michigan to help save lives


N-Donate-blood-Kathy-Uzarski-0213Historically low temperatures and heavy snowfall are increasing the need for donors at Michigan Blood, a nonprofit blood bank that provides blood and blood products to more than 40 hospitals throughout Michigan, including those in the West Michigan area.

“On a normal day we receive up to 400 donations throughout the state,” Jim Childress, Vice President of Community Relations at Michigan Blood said while explaining the importance of maintaining donors during rough weather periods. “However, this unprecedented weather has caused our donations to fall sharply. Monday we received only 44 donations across the entire state, and Tuesday we had to close our center in St. Joseph because roads were impassable.”

Blood donors make a lifesaving difference everyday, but since blood is a perishable resource that can only be stored for a short time, the need for donors never ends. This increased need at Michigan Blood is a great opportunity for veteran and first time donors alike to start the New Year off right, or fulfill a New Year’s resolution.

“This is going to have implications for us over the next several weeks,” Childress said. “So even if you are not able to make it out due to the weather, please call and schedule a time to come in and donate this month.”

Anyone interested in donating blood can visit www.miblood.org for more information or contact the local Michigan Blood donation center at 1036 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids 49503.


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