American Red Cross: Critical shortage of type O blood
Published 12:50 pm Sunday, March 3, 2019
ATLANTA — The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges type O donors — as well as eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types — to give now to ensure lifesaving patient care isn’t impacted this winter.
Type O blood is the most in-demand blood type, helping patients facing life-threatening conditions and emergencies every day. Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what emergency room personnel reach for when there’s no time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood is also especially needed because it is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.
Having a readily available blood supply is critical for patients like Luna Giles, who at the age of 1 1/2 has already undergone two heart surgeries and required over a dozen transfusions.
“Each time, the nurse would bring in a bag of blood for her transfusion, I noticed a small label on each one that said ‘Donation Type: Volunteer,’” said Luna’s mom, Jessie Giles. “It made me think about each individual who donated blood for my daughter. I would never know who those individuals were, and they would never see the effect their donation had. But each of those individuals, strangers to us, absolutely saved my daughter’s life. They may never know it, but to me, they are heroes.”
Right now, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types, and blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. Recent snowstorms and severe weather in many parts of the country have forced hundreds of blood drive cancellations, causing more than 20,000 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.
Individuals of all blood types — especially type O — are asked to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
HBO and Red Cross invite Game of Thrones fans to Bleed #ForTheThrone
To celebrate the final season of Game of Thrones, HBO and the Red Cross have partnered to ask fans and blood donors to Bleed #ForTheThrone this March. This is the largest blood donation promotional effort by an entertainment company in Red Cross history — with six days of coordinated giving March 7-12 from fans and blood donors at blood drives in 43 states across the U.S., including an immersive blood drive experience at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
As part of the partnership, fans who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross now through March 17 will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five trips to the season 8 world premiere of Game of Thrones. The trip includes travel for two, up to two nights hotel accommodations and a $250 gift card for expenses. Terms and conditions apply and are available at RedCrossBlood.org/HBOGameofThrones.*
Additionally, those who come to donate March 7-12 will also receive exclusive Game of Thrones swag including a T-shirt, stickers to unlock a unique Snapchat filter and other items, while supplies last.
Upcoming local and area blood donation opportunities through March 31 include the following:
• Americus — 9 a.m.-2 p.m. March 11, Southland Academy, 123 Southland Road
• Americus — 2-7 p.m. March 14, Furlow Charter School, 63 Valley Drive
• Ellaville — 3-7 p.m. March 5, Ellaville Baptist Church, 64 N. Broad St.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.