The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelets, urging all eligible donors to give now to replenish an extremely low summer blood supply.
Blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months, resulting in about 39,000 fewer donations than what’s needed, as well as a significant draw down of the overall Red Cross blood supply. In addition, the Independence Day holiday may have caused many regular donors to postpone donations due to vacation plans. A recent Red Cross poll revealed that more than 75 percent of donors surveyed indicated vacation plans this summer, many of them occurring the weeks before and after July 4.
“Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which is why we are making this emergency request for donations,” said Beth Toll of the Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region. “Donations are urgently needed now to meet the needs of hospital patients in the coming days and weeks. If you’ve thought about giving blood and helping to save lives, now is the time to do it. It’s the blood donations on the shelves that help save lives when an emergency occurs.”
How to Help
To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1–800-RED CROSS (1–800–733–2767). The Red Cross is extending hours at many donation sites to allow for more donors to make an appointment to give. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to avoid longer wait times. Donors with all blood types are needed.
Those unable to give can still help by encouraging others to give through a SleevesUp virtual blood drive at redcrossblood.org/sleevesup, giving of their time through volunteerism or making a financial donation to support Red Cross humanitarian work across the country and around the world.
Who Blood Donations Help
Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant procedures, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
At age three, Ben Hopkins was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, a bone marrow failure disorder.
“Ben looks like a typical happy, five-year-old boy, but looks can be deceiving,” said Toni Hopkins, Ben’s mother and Tabernacle, N.J. resident. “His bone marrow stopped functioning and could not produce the critical cell lines that make red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, so he was dependent on blood transfusions every two to three days for several months in order to survive.”
Ben underwent treatment and has now been able to function independently without required transfusions for nearly two years. A Red Cross blood drive is being held in honor of five-year-old “Brave Ben” on Sunday, July 10 at the Aloft Hotel in Mt. Laurel.
American Red Cross Blood Donation Centers:
Camden County Donor Center
5425 Marlton Pike, Pennsauken
Mondays through Wednesdays: 12:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. (whole blood & platelet pheresis)
Thursdays: 7:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m. (platelet pheresis)
Fridays: 8 a.m. — 3 p.m. (whole blood & platelet pheresis)
Saturdays and Sundays: 7 a.m. — 2 p.m. (whole blood & platelet pheresis)
Pleasantville Blood Donation Center
850 N. Franklin Ave., Pleasantville
Tuesdays: 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Thursdays: 12 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Saturdays: 7 a.m. — 2 p.m.
Other upcoming blood donation opportunities:
7/23/2016: 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., Bethel AME Church, 512 N. Church Street
7/6/2016: 9:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m., Virtua Fellowship, 523 Fellowship Road, suite 270
7/10/2016: 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., Brave Ben’s Blood Drive — Aloft Hotel, 558 Fellowship Road
7/20/2016: 3 p.m. — 8 p.m., Fellowship Community, 1520 Hainesport Road
7/24/2016: 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., YMCA-Mount Laurel, 59 Centerton Road
7/10/2016: 9:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m., Holy Eucharist Tabernacle Roman Catholic Church, 520 Medford Lakes
7/11/2016: 2 p.m. — 7 p.m., Lourdes Care, 1 Brace Road
7/18/2016: 8:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m., Avalon Flooring, 2030 Springdale Road
7/25/2016: 2 p.m. — 7 p.m., Cherry Hill Public Library, 1100 N. Kings Highway
7/13/2016: 2 p.m. — 7 p.m., Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, 200 Windsor Avenue, Lower Church
7/5/2016: 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., Bowman & Company, LLP, 601 White Horse Road
7/20/2016: 9 a.m. — 2 p.m., United States Cold Storage, Inc, 201 Laurel Road