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To Address Worst Shortage in 10 Years, Red Cross Urging People To Help Replenish Blood Supply

Donate during February to receive a $10 Amazon gift card

Photo: iStock.com/Svitlana Hulko (Licensed by The Zebra Press)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – As the American Red Cross recovers from its worst blood supply shortage in a decade, it is an encouraging sign that more people are donating. In a press release issued earlier today, they urged people to continue donating blood and platelets.

Winter weather across the nation has hampered the effort to rebuild the supply.

“Hundreds of blood drives have been canceled across the country due to winter storms in January, forcing about 6,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected,” reads the release. “Here in the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake region, dozens of drives have been canceled or delayed – with more than 130 pints of blood uncollected.”

Want to donate? Use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, or call 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment. Donate during the month of February to receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

Donation Requirements

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood Drive Safety 

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

Health Insights for Donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Save Time During the Donation Process

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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