• 61°

Blood types go missing

The letters A, B and O will be disappearing from major brand logos, signs and social media pages as the American Red Cross joins the international Missing Type campaign.

The campaign’s purpose is to bring awareness to the blood shortage that happens during the summer months and to encourage those who have never donated — and those who haven’t given in a long time — to provide lifesaving blood to hospitals.

“Numbers go down in the summer, and what we try and do is encourage people to donate. We want them to understand the need for blood doesn’t stop because they are planning summer vacations,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Bernadette Jay.

According to the Red Cross, 74 percent of the public underestimate how frequently blood transfusions occur. Someone in the country needs blood every two seconds.

The campaign is a conversation starter to show that the Red Cross is in critical need of blood, especially during the summer season.

“It’s an interesting way to engage, because we have companies like MasterCard and Domino’s removing A, B and O from their iconic logos to raise awareness and elevate the conversation,” Jay said. “They are missing and it looks odd, but we don’t want A, B and O to disappear within our blood banks and within our hospitals.”

Part of the misconception of the need is because some people may not have been directly impacted by blood transfusions, Jay said.

Almost 45 percent of the United States population has had family affected by blood transfusions, according to data from the Red Cross.

“Every patient deserves access,” Jay said. “We want all blood types to be represented.”

Only three percent of citizens donate blood to the blood banks across the country every year, and Jay says community support is needed to make sure blood banks don’t go into crisis mode due to blood shortages.

“We can’t do it by ourselves. We need the support of the community,” Jay said. “It doesn’t hurt to donate blood, and it is rewarding to receive an email from Red Cross saying what hospital it went to.”

Hampton Roads hosts dozens of blood drives in partnership with the Red Cross every year, and Suffolk is no different. There will be two blood drives this Wednesday. One will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Hall, 442 W. Washington St., and the other will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Dominion Energy, 5272 Godwin Blvd.