The onset of summer means road trips, boating, water-skiing and an alarmingly low supply of available blood.
The American Red Cross and the Community Blood Center are asking for an increase in donors for the coming summer months.
“The need for blood doesn’t take a summer vacation,” said Jim Williams, spokesman for the American Red Cross. “Usually we start to run out around the Fourth of July, but this year it happened around Memorial Day.”
Williams said the Red Cross typically relies heavily on high school and college blood drives in addition to the community, but when school is not in session the community must step up and take over.
Catherine Hicks, district manager of the Mid-Missouri Red Cross, said that while they still have donors coming in each day, their mobiles fall below their goals at times.
“There is an increase in blood usage across Missouri, and coupled with a few major accidents, our supplies start to run low quickly,” Hicks said.
Williams stressed the importance of maintaining supplies, especially with increased need in the summer.
“We try to get prepared for the summer, but as of now, one major accident could deplete the supply,” Williams said.
Beth Pope, manager of donor services with the Community Blood Center, said the center is appealing for donations right now because it has only a day’s supply — or less — of blood.
While all blood types are needed, both the Red Cross and the Community Blood Center are specifically requesting O negative, the universal blood type.
“Even if you can’t give blood, you can get others involved, or help set up drives,” Williams said.
Hicks said any group or organization interested in hosting or sponsoring a blood drive is welcome, or any individuals who want to donate may call to set up an appointment.
How you can help
Shelter Insurance Co. will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and there will be a drive at University Hospital from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. To sponsor a blood drive, call Catherine Hicks at the local Red Cross office at 449-3480, ext. 2502, or 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. More information is available at the Red Cross Web site, www.americanredcrossblood.org.