Do you want to do something in honor of the holiday weekend that will prove to everyone that you're a true, red-blooded American? To give something back, the best way might be to take things literally. The American Red Cross is urging people to consider making blood and platelet donations to help tackle a predicted shortfall due to Fourth of July holiday travel.
According to AAA figures, around 39 million Americans will make a trip of 50 miles or more over the Fourth of July holiday weekend this year. That means disruption to a lot of regular routines and even for those that regularly give blood, a weekend of celebration can mean donating becomes difficult. The urgent call for donations comes after a recent survey of regular donors showed that more than 40 percent plan to travel the week before or after Independence Day. The problem is compounded by the fact that local hosting organizations themselves organize fewer blood drives for the week before and after Independence Day in anticipation of an absence of donors.
Giving blood costs nothing and can make a big impact — literally, in fact, it's a life-and-death thing. The Red Cross hope their message will encourage a few more to generously contribute a little of the red stuff. “Adding blood or platelet donation to a vacation to-do list can mean so much to patients and their families,” said Donna M. Morrissey, director of national partnerships, American Red Cross Biomedical Services. “It’s a simple act, taking as little as an hour, but can touch many lives.”
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients — especially O negative, A negative and B negative. Platelet donors are urged to schedule an appointment. You can download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.
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 who are 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Those who come to donate from July 2-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered baseball cap, while supplies last.
To find your nearest blood drive, click here.