The American Red Cross faces a blood shortage across the nation and in the region after a slow stream of donations over the Fourth of July week.
In May and June, the Red Cross saw a national shortfall of more than 56,000 blood donations, or about 7 percent short of what the organization needed to collect for the months. Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect 13,000 blood donations for hospitals. In the Central Plains region — which encompasses most of Kansas, except the Kansas City area — the Red Cross needs 260 blood donations from an average of 70 blood drives each week.
Blood donations typically drop off over the summer because the Red Cross loses donations from high school and college blood drives, which make up up to 20 percent of donations, said Jan Hale, external communications manager for the Red Cross. Over the Fourth of July holiday week, fewer employees give blood at company blood drives.
"I think traditionally, that's been a pretty difficult week for us," Hale said. "The holiday falling right in the middle of the week is probably the worst time that it could fall. We know it's going to be a tough time, so we encourage our very loyal and regular Wichita donors to remember their blood donation this summer, as quickly and as soon as possible."
Last month, the Red Cross launched a new campaign called #MissingTypes to encourage new or infrequent donors to donate. As part of the campaign, the Red Cross has dropped the letters A, B and O — letters that make up the blood types — to demonstrate the need for all blood types. Other companies, such as Google and State Farm, have also taken part in the campaign and temporarily dropped those letters from their logos and names.
Type O negative — the universal blood type often used in emergency situations — and Type O positive blood donations are the most in demand, and potential donors can find out their blood type after the Red Cross processes the blood and sends out donor cards.
The number one reason why people say they don't donate blood, Hale said, is because they say they haven't been asked. A recent Red Cross survey showed that nearly half of the population knows somebody that has received blood, yet only 3 percent of the population donates.
Most people inaccurately think that a blood transfusion is only needed every hour or 15 minutes. In reality, it's needed every 2 seconds, Hale said.
You can schedule an appointment by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-733-2767. If you use the app or website, you can save time by filling out the RapidPass online health history questionnaire on the day of your appointment.
Here's where you can donate this month:
- Wichita Blood Donation Center, 707 N. Main. Open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Friday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
- Saturday, July 14: St. Francis of Assisi, 861 N. Socora, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Monday, July 16: The Law Company, 345 Riverview, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Thursday, July 19: Navy Recruiting Station, 7348 W. 21st, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Saturday, July 21: St. Anne's Church, 2801 S. Seneca, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 25: All Saints Church, 3205 Grand, 2:30-7 p.m.
- Thursday, July 26: Airbus, 1855 Innovation, 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Saturday, July 14: LifePoint Church, 400 S. Abilene, Valley Center, 8 a.m.-noon
- Saturday, July 21: Haysville Community Library, 210 S Hays Ave, Haysville, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Saturday, July 21: Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 18218 W. Highway 54, Goddard, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Sunday, July 22: St. John the Evangelist, 18630 W. 71st Street South, Viola, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Saturday, July 28: Pix Center, 101 E. Main, Mulvane, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.