American Red Cross

The American Red Cross continues to experience a severe blood shortage that is negatively affecting blood product availability across the country.

Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give now and help ensure hospital shelves are stocked with blood products over the Fourth of July holiday and beyond.

The Red Cross is working around the clock to provide blood products to hospitals responding to an unusually high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants.

As a result of the blood shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care.

In addition, while summer is traditionally a time when blood donations decline, this year is particularly challenging as many Americans receive their vaccinations and resume summer activities after more than a year of limited interactions and travel, leading to lower donor turnout. The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday break − patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions.

Donors are needed now to prevent further delays to patient care, the Red Cross said. Appointments to give blood can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 800.RED CROSS (800.733.2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you, all those who come to give July 1-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat by mail, while supplies last.

Donors who give July 7-31 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, plus a chance to win gas for a year (a $5,000 value). (Terms and conditions apply; rcblood.org/fuel).

In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

Blood drives

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in the region through July include the following.

> Ashland – July 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Von Holzen Chevrolet, 1606 Hwy. 2.

> Cumberland – July 20, noon to 6 p.m., American Legion Cumberland, 1225 Veterans St.

> Hayward – July 22, 1 to 7 p.m., St Joseph Catholic Church, 10586 N Dakota Ave.

> Hayward – July 23, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., St Joseph Catholic Church, 10586 N Dakota Ave.

> Rice Lake – July 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Rice Lake Elks Lodge, 36 E Eau Claire St.

> Rice Lake, July 23 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Link Ford Lincoln RV, 2700 Decker Dr.

> Superior – July 6, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Superior Family YMCA, 9 N 21st St.

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