The Need for Blood Doesn’t Take a Vacation

June 02, 2017

Shore Medical Center partners with American Red Cross for blood donation opportunities this summer.

Fact: every two seconds, someone in the United States need blood.

Nationally, the American Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. In the Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region, which includes Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, the Red Cross must collect approximately 1,000 units of blood and platelets every day to meet demand.

Summer is a particularly challenging time for blood collection because schools are out of session and many regular donors schedule vacations. In fact, in a recent Red Cross survey, 73 percent of blood and platelet donors indicated that their summer vacation plans may impact their availability to donate. In addition, last summer, the number of new, first-time blood donors was 32 percent lower nationally—and more than 40 percent lower in New Jersey—than any other time of the year.

Despite the projected decrease in summer blood donations, the need for blood doesn’t decrease. Blood cannot be manufactured. Healthy, volunteer blood donors of all blood types are the only source of blood and platelets for those in need of transfusions. Donated blood products are perishable. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days, and platelets—the clotting component in blood used to treat cancer and surgical patients and bone marrow recipients—have a shelf life of just five days, so they must be constantly replenished.

Donate Blood at Shore Medical Center – June 9 and Aug. 11, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Shore Medical Center is hosting Red Cross blood drives on June 9 and Aug. 11, with appointments available between 7 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Both drives are open to the public. To schedule an appointment, click on the dates above or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also download the Blood App from any app store or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999.

To search for additional blood drives and donation centers near you, visit www.redcrossblood.org

The Red Cross has six helpful tips to help donors—both seasoned and first-time—have the best possible blood donation experience.

  1. As much as possible, eat iron-rich foods leading up to your donation.
  2. Hydrate – drink an extra 16 oz. of liquid before and after the donation.
  3. Have a healthy meal before the donation.
  4. Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
  5. Complete a RapidPass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time.
  6. Remember to bring a picture ID, blood donor card or two other forms of identification.

Who Can Donate

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent in Pennsylvania and New Jersey), 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. Information on eligibility requirements is available at redcrossblood.org, but the final determination will be made on the day of the donation at the blood drive. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for specific questions about eligibility.
Get Involved

Unable to donate blood? No problem! There are many other ways to get involved with the Red Cross! Volunteers are always needed to serve in a variety of positions, including blood drive ambassadors, drivers and many others. You can also encourage others to donate blood and platelets by creating a SleevesUp virtual blood drive.