Red Cross enters third week of emergency blood and platelet shortage

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Clyde Welch, Red Cross volunteer driver, loads blood platelets and other blood products into a Red Cross van for delivery to patients in need at hospitals. Photo by Craig Miller/American Red Cross

Donations needed now to help those battling cancer and other serious conditions

SPRINGFIELD, Mo – The American Red Cross continues to experience an emergency blood and platelet shortage that has caused the blood supply to drop to the lowest post-summer level in at least six years.

With less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks, the Red Cross asks donors of all blood types – especially type O − to make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible to ensure patients can receive the lifesaving transfusions they rely on. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds from summer blood shortages, but a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. due to the delta variant has contributed to the lowest donor turnout of the year. To shore up inventory, the Red Cross must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week this month to meet hospital and patient needs.

Donors are asked to make an appointment

All those who come to donate in October will receive a link by email to claim a free Zaxby’s® Signature Sandwich reward or get a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.* Plus, all those who come to give Oct. 11-31 will receive a bonus $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.**

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Blood donations help those with breast cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Red Cross is reminding donors of the importance of blood to those undergoing treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 1.9 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. this year, and more than 281,000 of those individuals will have breast cancer.

Patients with breast cancer and other cancers may need blood products on a regular basis during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications. In fact, nearly 25% of the blood supply is used by cancer patients.

Blood donations help local families

The American Red Cross and the family of Maeleigh “Mae” Toynton are teaming up to host the ‘Yays for Mae’ blood drive in her honor on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Campbell First United Methodist Church, 1747 E. Republic, in Springfield.

Mae, 15, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer. She has had several blood transfusions as a part of her chemotherapy treatment. Mae and her family wanted to host this blood drive as a way to give back to the community and help bring awareness to the importance of blood products.

“Mae is very passionate about this blood drive and wants to be able to help others who are going through a similar journey,” said Dior Toynton, Mae’s mother. “We can’t think of a better way to give back than this blood drive, and we hope the entire community will come out so we can have a successful blood drive in Mae’s honor.”

People across the country depend on the kindness of blood donors. Donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-73-2767).

Blood drive safety

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities

Carthage

10/20/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lowes Carthage, 433 West Fir Road

10/22/2021: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1338 East Fairview Avenue

10/28/2021: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Butterball LLC, 411 North Main Street