Give the gift of life through blood donation

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There’s no better time than the present to roll up your sleeve and give a potentially life-saving blood donation.

Faced with a looming blood shortage, American Red Cross officials are putting out a plea for blood donations. They are urging platelet donors and blood donors of all types, especially those with type O negative, B negative and A negative blood, to give now.

Donations through the American Red Cross are down approximately 8 percent during the past 11 weeks, which has resulted in approximately 80,000 fewer donations than expected. The number of donors continues to decline, according to Red Cross officials.

They reported that the shortfall is so significant that the Red Cross could experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.

Summer typically is a challenging time to collect blood and platelet donations. Regular donors sometimes delay giving because of vacations or other summer activities, and donations from those who typically give on school campuses tend to drop by more than 80 percent when school is out of session for the summer, according to information from Red Cross officials.

Don’t let summer activities keep you from donating.

All of us have a shared responsibility to make sure blood is readily available for those in need. You never know when you or your loved one might need blood.

Platelet donations also are needed. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, so it is important to have a steady supply of them available.

Take time between your vacations, barbecues and trips to the beach this summer to find a blood drive near you and donate. It’s relatively quick and easy to do.

Whether you’re a regular donor or someone giving blood for the first time, you’ll feel good knowing that you made a difference.