Blood donors needed this July

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

It was a rough Fourth of July holiday for the American Red Cross as citizens enjoyed fun in the sun.

Compared to a typical week, there were about 550 fewer blood drives organized by businesses and other organizations during the week of Independence Day, according to a press release on Monday.

This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer blood donations than needed. Donations are now being distributed to hospitals faster than they come in. The Red Cross is calling on individuals in Suffolk to do their part and donate blood and platelets.

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“Each and every day, individuals across the country depend on blood and platelet donations for lifesaving treatments and emergency care, so it’s critical that people donate now to meet these needs,” Cliff Numark, Red Cross Blood Services senior vice president, stated in the press release.

The need is especially dire for type-O blood donors. Type O negative is the universal blood type that emergency room personnel reach for when patients are in critical condition and there’s no time to check their blood types, according to the press release.

The Red Cross joined the international Missing Type campaign in June to bring awareness to the blood shortage that happens during the summer months and encourage donations. The letters A, B and O have disappeared from major brand logos, signs and social media pages to correspond with the heavily needed blood types that are dwindling in supply.

Only 3 percent of citizens donate blood to the blood banks across the country every year, and according to Red Cross spokeswoman Bernadette Jay, community support is needed to make sure blood banks don’t go into crisis mode.

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

These donations help patients like 9-month-old Krew Anderson, a baby boy who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in March, according to press release. He’s gone through four rounds of chemotherapy since then and has received 15 blood and platelet transfusions and counting.

“Whether you’ve never donated or give a couple of times a year, you’re needed to give as soon as possible to help save patient lives,” Numark stated. “Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

Blood drives are planned for the following dates, times and locations.

July 11 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Beech Grove United Methodist Church, 4251 Driver Lane

July 17 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd.

July 18 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 1637 Holland Road

July 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Laura Keene — Leaders Save Lives — Seahorse Run, 2733 Whaleyville Blvd.

July 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Virginia Department of Transportation, 1700 N. Main St.

July 31 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church, 917 Carolina Road