Red Cross Issues Blood Shortage Emergency - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Red Cross Issues Blood Shortage Emergency

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

Less people donate blood each summer simply because less blood drives are being held, but this year the problem is even worse.

"A lot of it has to do with schools being out of session," said Bobbi Snethen, who oversees Red Cross blood donation in the Iowa region. "We get about 20 percent of our blood donations from college and high school blood drives so when they're not in session that can hurt our ability to collect enough blood."

 When schools empty out for the summer students aren't around to host the drives and donate. This year the Fourth of July played a big role in the blood emergency as well. It fell on a Thursday and a lot of people took that Friday off.

That's two days without their usual 17,000 daily donations.

"We'll host some larger blood drives before that time just to kind of raise awareness and let people know that patients don't take a holiday from needing blood," Snethen said. "Certainly one day can make a big difference."

It's a big difference for the people who need the blood that the Red Cross doesn't have. In worst case scenarios, planned surgeries and transplants will have to be canceled if they don't have enough.

"The need is constant, but the number of donations that are going out, there isn't a lot on their shelves at this time so basically as soon as donations are coming in they're being sent out to local hospitals," Snethen said.

The Red Cross is asking for help from any donors who haven't thought of giving blood during the summer months.

"It might just not come to the top of your mind during this season or maybe there wasn't an opportunity near them," Snethen said. "That's why it's important that people recognize that the need for blood is ongoing and summer is no exception."

You can register to host a drive or find a way to donate in your area by going to redcrossblood.org.

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