Red Cross Declares Emergency Blood Shortage in SW Michigan

Your willingness to give the gift of life is perhaps more critical now than at any other time in recent months, and authorities at the American Red Cross are hopeful you will step up to donate blood at your earliest convenience.

An emergency blood shortage is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an urgent call for eligible donors of all blood types – especially type O – to give now and help save lives.

The Red Cross escalated its call for blood and platelet donors after a difficult Independence Day week for donations. More than 550 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as individuals across the country celebrated the holiday and enjoyed summer activities. This could equate to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed, causing donations to now be distributed to hospitals faster than they come in.

Cliff Numark is Senior Vice President of Red Cross Blood Services. He tells us, “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.” Numark adds, “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. Yours may be the donation a patient is counting on.”

This need is especially critical for type O blood donors. Type O is the most in-demand blood type and often the first to be depleted from hospital shelves during a shortage. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. 

Here’s How to Help

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross has added about 6,500 additional appointment slots at donation centers and community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Who blood donations help

Because of generous donors, the Red Cross is able to provide blood products for patients like 9-month-old Krew Anderson. Krew is a happy, laid-back baby boy. His wide grin frames two tiny teeth. He likes to play with balloons and just experienced his first boat ride and fireworks show, but Krew has faced more challenges in the last four months than many people will experience in a lifetime.

In March, Krew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that causes bone marrow to produce a large number of abnormal blood cells. Since then, he has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy and received 15 blood and platelet transfusions to date.

Krew’s mother, Stephanie Anderson says, “The first time he got [a transfusion], I was just super nervous and didn’t know really what was happening.” She adds, “Now, when he gets one, I’m like, ‘Yes, please, get him some blood to help him get more energy and back to normal.’”

Krew’s father, Richard Anderson, donated blood a couple of times a year prior to his son’s diagnosis, but after seeing Krew receive blood, he now plans to give as soon as he’s eligible again.

Anderson says, “For me, just knowing that if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. I want to make sure there’s enough blood out there for everyone, and that there’s no shortage.”

Missing Types sees encouraging increase in new donors – all donors needed now

Facing a decline of about 80,000 new Red Cross blood donors each year for the past several years, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign in June to encourage new donors, and those who have not given recently, to donate blood. While the campaign has already inspired thousands of new donors to give, the Red Cross is now calling on all eligible blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve as soon as possible to overcome the emergency blood shortage.

Through the Missing Types campaign, which runs throughout the summer, the letters A, B and O – letters used to identify blood types – disappeared from corporate logos, celebrity social media accounts and favorite websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays in ensuring blood is never missing from hospital shelves.  

Here are your upcoming blood donation opportunities July 9-31:

Berrien County

  • Benton Harbor 
    • 7/9/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Hilton Garden Inn, 1300 Cinema Way
  • Saint Joseph
    • 7/13/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Trinity Lutheran Church, 619 Main Street
    • 7/18/2018: 11 am – 4:45 pm, Caretel Inns of Lakeland, 3905 Lorraine Path
  • Berrien Springs
    • 7/20/2018: 11 am – 4:45 pm, Andrews University Buller Hall, 8488 E Campus Circle
  • Saint Joseph
    • 7/24/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, The Willows Assisted Living, 3440 Niles Rd.
  • Benton Harbor
    • 7/25/2018: 11:30 am – 4:45 pm, Point Blank, 1340 Territorial Rd
  • Stevensville
    • 7/26/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Baroda Church of God, 5030 Cleveland Ave
  • Coloma
    • 7/27/2018: 11 am – 4:45 pm, Coloma Township Office, 4919 Paw Paw Lake rd

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Cass County

  • Dowagiac
    • 7/27/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church, 210 North Front Street

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Van Buren County

  • South Haven
    • 7/10/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Moose Lodge 697, 1025 Wells St
  • Lawton
    • 7/16/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Evangelical Mennonite Church, 425 Nursery Street
  • Bangor
    • 7/17/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Simpson United Methodist Church, 507 Joy St
  • Lawrence
    • 7/23/2018: 12 pm – 4:45 pm, Lawrence Conference Center, 490 South Paw Paw Street
  • South Haven
    • 7/26/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 06321 Blue Star Memorial Hwy.
  • Hartford
    • 7/27/2018: 12 pm – 5:45 pm, Hartford United Methodist Church, 425 East Main Street

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40-percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, you can visit online at RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit on Twitter at @RedCross.