A’s, B’s and O’s are missing! Red Cross calls on donors to help

HARTFORD — The Red Cross needs your help.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. But, for the past four years, new Red Cross donors have declined by about 80,000 a year. This isn’t just a Red Cross trend, but a challenge blood collection organizations face across the country.

Lily Dotson and her family know how serious blood shortages can be for patients. During Lily’s 2 1/2 years of treatment for high-risk leukemia, her family was told twice that the hospital didn’t have the blood or platelets she needed and that she would have to wait for transfusions. It was incredibly frustrating and eye-opening for Lily’s mom, Susie Dotson.

“People automatically think blood is there. They don’t realize we’re relying on their blood donation,” said Dotson. “Lily needed blood products just as much as the chemo or the treatment.”

Lily, now 11, has been cancer-free for four years and is preparing to enter middle school this year.

Each day, blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those like Lily who are receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle-cell disease. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

Survey reveals public misconceptions about blood needs and donation

A recent 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.

  • Three-quarters (74 percent) of the public underestimate how frequently blood transfusions occur.* Most people perceive blood is needed in the U.S. every 15 minutes or even every hour or two hours when in fact, every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood.
  • Nearly half of the public (45 percent) know someone who has been helped by a blood transfusion.* Yet only three percent of the U.S. population donates each year.
  • More than one-third (35 percent) of the public has never considered that blood may not be available when they or a loved one need it.* Blood shortages are not uncommon in the United States and can only be prevented when more people roll up a sleeve to give.
  • More than half (53 percent) of the public believe they need to know their blood type to donate.* Good news – 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. By joining the #MissingType movement, donors can find out their blood type this summer.

“Unfortunately, blood shortages still happen and the number of new Red Cross blood donors is shrinking each year,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “That’s why the Red Cross is asking those who have never donated blood and those who haven’t given in a while to make a lifesaving donation. You are the missing type patients need.”