Red Cross Facing a National Blood Shortage

Posted on September 11, 2023

American Red Cross – Cascades Region – 09/11/23 11:15 AM

Donors needed now as hospital demand outpaces blood donations

Portland, Ore (Sept. 11, 2023) — The American Red Cross is experiencing a national blood shortage. Fewer donors than needed gave this summer, drawing down the national blood supply and reducing distributions of some of the most needed blood types to hospitals. Hurricane Idalia further strained the blood supply with blood drive cancellations and reduced blood and platelet donations in affected areas.

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed, and there is an emergency need for platelet donors and type O blood donors to make an appointment to give now to ensure patients across the country continue to receive critical medical care. 

When Idalia slammed into the Southeast – leading to widespread power outages, travel hazards and flooding – the storm also forced the cancellation of over a dozen blood drives and caused hundreds of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This compounded a shortfall of about 30,000 donations in August. Right now, blood product distributions to hospitals are outpacing the number of blood donations coming in.

The Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors now. Schedule an appointment to give by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

In thanks for helping rebuild the blood supply, all who come to give Sept. 1-18 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Those who come to give throughout September will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts. Plus, they’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a VIP NASCAR racing experience. Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/RaceToGive.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month

One in 3 African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease. To help ensure patients have the blood products they need, the Red Cross launched the Sickle Cell Initiative in 2021 to grow the number of blood donors who are Black and improve health outcomes for patients. Together longtime and first-time blood donors are helping patients with sickle cell manage their symptoms and showing support for their community.

Joined by Blood is the initiative’s focus during Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September and continues through October. This year, the Red Cross is proud to partner with organizations focused on mentorship, including 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Kier’s Hope Foundation, Inc.; historically Black colleges and universities and member organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council; as well as the Black Radio Hall of Fame and others, who are all showing up for patients with sickle cell by hosting blood drives. To learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/OurBlood.

How to donate blood 

To make an appointment, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. 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 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 have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Amplify your impact − volunteer

A stable blood and platelet supply is critical to national preparedness. Additionally, as we are in the beginning of what is expected to be another active hurricane season, the Red Cross urges everyone to get ready now and consider becoming a volunteer to help people affected by the growing number of climate-driven disasters.

Support impacted communities by assisting at Red Cross shelters, using your professional skills as a licensed health care provider or becoming a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. To learn more, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood and is the primary blood supplier to 65 hospitals throughout Washington and Oregon; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Oregon or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossCasc.

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