Red Cross blood shortage continues

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Thousands of people have responded to the emergency call for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, but there continues to be a critical summer blood shortage, according to a press release. Eligible donors of all types are urgently needed.

After issuing the emergency call, the Red Cross has experienced a 30-percent increase in blood donation appointments through mid-July. About half of the appointments were scheduled by donors using the free blood donor app or at Despite this improvement, blood products are still being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, so more donations are needed to meet patient needs and replenish the blood supply.

“The blood supply is like a cell phone battery, it constantly needs recharging,” said Sue Thesenga, communications manager of the North Central Blood Services Region. “We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives and encourage those who haven’t to consider rolling up a sleeve and give the gift of life. It only takes about an hour but can mean a lifetime for patients.”

Email newsletter signup

Nearly 61,000 fewer blood donations than needed were given through the Red Cross in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in early July. The shortfall was the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the blood donor app, visit, or call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-733-2767. Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

As a special thank you, those who come out to give blood or platelets with the Red Cross through Aug. 31 will be emailed a $5 Target eGiftCard.

Upcoming local blood donation opportunities will be from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at Thorne Crest Senior Living Community, 1201 Garfield Ave. in Albert Lea; noon to 6 p.m. Friday at Bridge Community Church, 2016 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea; 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hollandale Reformed Church, 101 Park Ave. in Hollandale; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 7 at Hy-Vee, 2708 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 9 at  Sterling Drug, 410 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea.