Red Cross issues emergency call for blood and platelet donors

Calling all blood donors: The American Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors. The agency issued an emergency request for donors of all blood types with blood donations down about 10 percent nationwide in June. That resulted in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected.

"We are counting on generous volunteer blood and platelet donors to step up and give now," said Donna M. Morrissey, Director, Communications, American Red Cross Blood Services - Northeast Division. "Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need."

June can be among the most challenging months of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving due to summer vacations. High school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of Red Cross donations during the school year. Donations from those who usually give at these drives drop by more than 80 percent when school is out for the summer.

Every day, the American Red Cross New York-Penn Blood Region needs approximately 1,200 donors to step forward and give blood. Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets - a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients - must be transfused within five days of donation, so it's important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand.

To donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click here.