LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The American Red Cross asks blood and platelet donors to help prevent a summer shortage by making an appointment to roll up a sleeve around the Independence Day holiday.
With blood and platelet donation appointments currently lower than what is needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply, donors of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment now, especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative.
The Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients across the country. This can be challenging during the summer months of June, July and August, when an average of two fewer donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need. This seasonal challenge can be overcome if just two more donors – above what is expected – make an appointment and give blood at each Red Cross blood drive the rest of the summer.
For one family in Little Rock, the need has become personal this summer. Bill Bihn, diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer, is undergoing specialized treatment at UAMS and requires frequent platelet transfusions. This summer, the frequency of those transfusions has increased. Bill sometimes needs them daily. His wife, two children and seven siblings have rallied behind him in support, some of them donating blood and platelets in his honor. Teela Bihn, Bill’s sister, visited the Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Little Rock on June 26 to donate platelets for her brother.
“For me, this week, it’s really clear that blood and platelet donations help save lives. I don’t want to think about what would happen to my brother if he didn’t have the transfusions,” said Teela after seeing the platelets she donated being transfused to her brother, Bill.
Teela and other family members plan to continue donating blood and platelets to help Bill and other patients in need.
“Vacations and other summer activities often conflict with donation appointments, which makes summer a very difficult time to collect blood donations,” said Danielle Ray, Spokesperson for the Red Cross, Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. “Donations decline further near summer holidays like Independence Day. We want to make sure we can provide blood and platelets for patients that need them, like Bill.”
To encourage more people to make time to donate blood before and after Independence Day, all presenting blood and platelet donors from June 30 through July 7 will receive a commemorative Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find a nearby blood donation opportunity or schedule an appointment.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities June 30 – July 7:
- July 1 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at City of Maumelle, 550 Edgewood in Maumelle
- July 1 from 12 - 5 p.m. at American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 4548 JFK Blvd. in NLR
- July 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kroger Highway 10, 1400 Cantrell Rd. in Little Rock
- July 7 from 3 - 7 p.m. at Oley E. Rooker Library, 11 Otter Creek Ct. in Little Rock
- July 7 from 3 - 7 p.m. at Walmart, 2700 S. Shackleford Rd. in Little Rock, Ark.
In addition, the Little Rock Blood Donation Center is open 7 days a week:
- Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.