Red Cross calls for new donors to prevent a summer blood shortage

© 2017-Mendota Reporter

MENDOTA – The American Red Cross urges those who have never given blood before – as well as those who have not given recently – to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.

The next blood donation opportunity will be held on Tuesday, June 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mendota Moose Family Center.

While the need for blood is constant during the summer months, the Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors. Nationwide, about one-third fewer new donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year. Additionally, many schools where blood drives are held are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacation plans.

While about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent of those eligible actually do. The blood donation process takes about an hour with the actual donation only taking about 10 minutes. Whether new to donating blood or a lifelong donor, the Red Cross offers tips for an enjoyable donation experience:

  1. Eat as much iron-rich foods as possible leading up to your donation;
  2. Hydrate. Drink an extra 16 oz. of liquid before and after the donation;
  3. Have a healthy meal before the donation;
  4. Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow;
  5. Complete a RapidPass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time;
  6. Remember to bring a photo ID, blood donor card, or two other forms of identification.

“Every day, we have thousands of lives to help save, but blood and platelet donations often do not keep pace with hospital demand during the summer months,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “In less time than it can take to go out to eat, you can make a lifesaving difference for cancer patients, accident victims, and others in need.”