Photo by Diane Cox
Laura Ellington (front) and her son Cameron (right) give blood together in 2014.
While thousands of people responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains.
The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.
At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which affects the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.
“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Joe Zydlo, external communications manager of the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”
Every two seconds
In the United States, every 2 seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds.
“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” Poulin said.
Blood and platelets are needed for many reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.
All blood types urgently needed
Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon gift card claim code.
To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.
Blood drives in Madison County
• 2:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, Knights of Columbus 460, 405 E. Fourth St.
• 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, Calvary Baptist Church, 1422 Washington Ave.
• 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, Alton Memorial Hospital, 1 Memorial Drive
• 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, First National Bank, 704 Texas Blvd.
• 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, Culvers, 100 United Drive
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, Ooh La La -Spa, 110 Cottonwood Road
• 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, Hope Lutheran Church, 3715 Wabash Ave.
• 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, Nameoki United Methodist Church, 1900 Pontoon Road
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, Granite City Church of God, 1205 W. Pontoon Road
• 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, Dawson’s Fitness Center, 1815 Delmar Ave.
• 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, Greater Alton Church, 506 E. Airline Dr.