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Posted: July 9, 2013 6:31 p.m.

Red Cross seeks blood donations

Because fewer than expected donations were received in June and early July, the American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types.

"We are counting on generous volunteer blood and platelet donors to step up and give now," said Jerry J.K. Tillery, chief executive officer, Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. "Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need."

Nationwide, donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 10 percent in June, about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. The shortfall is similar to what the Red Cross experienced in June 2012.

June can be among the most challenging months of the year for blood and platelet donations, according to The Red Cross, as regular donors delay giving while they adjust to summer schedules.

High school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of Red Cross donations during the school year.

In addition, a mid-week Independence Day holiday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July.

Each day, the American Red Cross Southern Blood Region needs approximately 1,200 donors. Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

There also is an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients -- must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand.

To donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.

A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification, will be required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate.d.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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