Red Cross calls for new donors to prevent summer blood shortages


The American Red Cross urges those in the Western Missouri Region who have never given blood before –  as well as those who haven’t given recently – to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.

While the need for blood is constant during the summer months, the Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors. Many schools where blood drives are held – and where new donors give – are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacation plans.

In Missouri, 39 percent fewer new blood donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year. In Kansas, that number was 42 percent fewer, and nationally it was 32 percent.

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 you are new to donating blood or a lifelong donor, the Red Cross offers helpful tips for an enjoyable donation experience:

  • As much as possible, eat iron-rich foods leading up to your donation.
  • Drink an extra 16 ounces of liquid before and after the donation.
  • Have a healthy meal before the donation.
  • Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
  • Complete a RapidPass at org/rapidpass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time.
  • Remember to bring a picture 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 Joe Zydlo, Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region spokesman. “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.”

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Kansas City: June 2, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Red Cross Chapter, 211 W. Armour Blvd.

Leavenworth: June 3, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., VFW Post 56, 523 Cherokee St.
Kansas City: June 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Earp Distribution, 2730 S. 98th St.
Bonner Springs: June 13, 3 p.m.-7 p.m., Elm Grove Baptist Church, 15774 Linwood Rd.

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