Effective Monday, June 10, the American Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to raise awareness for lifesaving blood donations and urge the public to make an appointment to give blood or platelets this summer.
During the Missing Types campaign, the letters A, B and O – the letters representing the main blood groups – are disappearing from brands, social media pages, signs and websites to illustrate the critical role blood donors play in helping patients. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B, O and AB blood types go missing from hospital shelves, patient care and medical treatments are affected.
Blood transfusion is the fourth most common inpatient hospital procedure in the U.S. Blood can only come from volunteer blood donors, yet only three out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood. That’s simply not enough to help patients who need transfusions.
“Just last month, the Red Cross experienced a critical shortage of type O blood. When this happens, medical procedures could be delayed because blood products are not available,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “That’s why we are asking those eligible to help fill the missing types by making a donation appointment today. Don’t wait for the letters A, B and O to go missing from hospital shelves again.”
Donors can help fill the missing types by making an appointment to give by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/MissingTypes, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Locally, a drive is scheduled at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., in Oakdale on Wednesday, June 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A 2019 national survey, conducted on behalf of the Red Cross, revealed a troubling disconnect between the public’s perception of blood donations and the realities of patient transfusion needs.
A third (33 percent) of the public has never considered that blood may not be available when a loved one needs it. Just last month, the Red Cross had only six units of type O blood available for every 100,000 people, but more than twice that is needed every day.
Blood transfusion is one of the most common hospital procedures in the U.S. Yet, “Never really thought about it” was the primary reason (26 percent) that people do not give blood among those who haven’t given recently.
More than half (54 percent) the public believes it is necessary to know their blood type in order to donate blood; this is simply not true. Potential blood donors do not need to know their blood type before giving blood. After individuals give blood, the Red Cross provides each donor their blood type.
More donors, and new donors in particular, are needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply. Donating blood is a simple process and only takes about an hour from start to finish.
The process includes: Registration: Sign in, show ID and read required information; Health check: Answer questions and receive a mini-physical; Donation: Giving a pint of blood only takes about eight to 10 minutes; Refreshments: Donors enjoy snacks and relax before resuming their day.