Blood drives have been planned in Olney and Graham in early August in order to help the American Red Cross through a looming blood shortage. The organization is calling for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

The American Red Cross will host a drive in Olney from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Olney High School, 704 W. Grove. 

Another drive is scheduled from noon-5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the American Legion in Graham, 609 Elm St.

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed at this time. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients. 

Donations through the Red Cross are down approximately 8 percent over the last 11 weeks, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The number of donors continues to decline, and the shortfall is significant enough that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks. 

In addition, Independence Day falling on Friday reduced the number of blood drives set in early July. 

Many sponsors did not host drives because of vacations taken either over the long weekend or the entire week. In an average summer week, about 4,400 blood drives are scheduled, compared to Independence Day week when only 3,450 drives occurred.


Advertisement

“Hospital patients continue to need lifesaving blood this summer, and they’re relying on the generosity of volunteer donors to give them hope in the days and weeks ahead,” said Tricia Quinn, CEO for the Red Cross Southwest Blood Services Region. “Please, consider giving the gift of life. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for patients in need – and you never know when it could be your loved one needing blood.”

The summer can be among the most challenging times of the year for blood donations as regular donors delay giving while they take vacations and participate in summer activities. When school is out of session for summer break, donations from those who normally give on campus tend to drop by more than 80 percent.

Every day this summer is a chance to give hope to patients in need and their network of family and friends. July 13 marked the half-way point for the Red Cross campaign “100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.” Blood is needed now and for the rest of the summer. Individuals who donated blood earlier this summer may now be eligible to donate again and help patients such as accident victims, heart surgery patients and children with blood disorders. 

To donate blood, 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.