Red Cross Issues Urgent Call for Blood and Platelet Donors

Today the American Red Cross announced that, following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the organization is facing a blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.

About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available — and less than a two-day supply of type O blood — for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.

“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.”

In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors — especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years — to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months. Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O — letters that make up the main blood groups — disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages.

Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.

“Blood is only available when generous blood and platelet donors roll up a sleeve to give, and right now, all donors — especially those give have never given or haven’t given in a while — are urged to make an appointment to give today,” Numark added.

Upcoming area blood drive events include:

Anthem

  • July 16: 12:30–6:30pm, Anthem Civic Building, 3701 W. Anthem Way

Phoenix

  • July 11: 8am–1:30pm, Arizona State DES Building, 4000 N. Central Ave.
  • July 12: 10am–4pm, Carlyle at South Mountain, 5151 E. Guadalupe Rd.
  • July 19: 9am–2:30pm, PHI Air Medical, 2800 N. 44th St., Suite 125
  • July 20: 11am–4pm, Chris-Town YMCA, 5517 N. 17th Ave.
  • July 21: 10am–3pm, Sportsman’s Warehouse, 19205 N. 27th Ave.
  • July 23: 9am–2:30pm, Ford Lincoln Mercury, 1330 E. Camelback Rd.
  • July 26: 9am–2pm, Henderson Engineers Inc., 5343 N. 16th St., Ste. 460
  • July 26: 9:30am–3pm American Red Cross Greater Phoenix Region, 4747 N. 22nd St., Suite 100
  • July 28: 8am–1pm, Carefree Vineyard Church, 4225 N. 27th Dr., Ste 120, Bldg. 3
  • July 31: 2–7pm, Phoenix Elks Lodge 335, 14424 N. 32 St.

Scottsdale

  • July 11: 9am–2pm, Food Services of America, 16100 N. 71st St.
  • July 14: 7:30am–12:30pm, La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church, 6300 E. Bell Rd.
  • July 17: 9am–2pm, International Cruise & Excursions, Inc, 7720 N. Dobson Rd.
  • July 25: 9am–3pm, Fry’s Food Store, 6321 E. Greenway Rd.
  • July 27: 10am–3pm, Fight Ready MMA, 8666 E. Shea Blvd., #147

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at redcrossblood.org or by calling 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.

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting redcrossblood.org/hostadrive.

 

Three Ways to Help Keep Kids Safe Around Water This Summer

By Kathryn M. Miller

Summer is just around the corner and with it comes graduation parties, family get-togethers, holiday barbecues and, finally, back-to-school activities, and that means that distractions abound. When a swimming pool is added to the mix, summer fun can turn deadly — especially for young children.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in Arizona for children age 4 and under, generally in pool-related incidents; it is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 12; and nationally, three children die each day as a result of drowning.

May is National Water Safety Month and with summer vacation on the horizon it the perfect time to raise awareness about how to be safe around water, and the Valley of the Sun YMCA (Y) is leading the way.

“In Arizona, the Valley of the Sun YMCA is known as the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning,” said Jackie Gizzi, executive director of Leadership Development & Risk Management at the Y. “Our free swim lessons program and Water Watcher tags give us the ability to teach more children and adults in the Valley the importance of being safe around water.”

The Y offers these top three water safety recommendations:

1 Swim lessons. Children who have formal swim lessons are 88 percent less likely to have a drowning incident. The Y says that drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water but encourages parents and caregivers not to keep children sidelined. Rather, equip them with the tools they need to be confident in and around water.

Summer water safety programs at the Y include swim lessons (6 months to adults) and swim team (5–18 years old). They also offer a year-round member benefit of free swim lessons for children 6 months to 36 months. In addition, as part of National Water Safety Month, the Y will offer two weeks of free swim lessons to the first 2,000 registrants at 13 Valley of the Sun YMCA branches the week of May 13–23. Visit www.valleyymca.org.

2 Parent supervision. The importance of having an adult designated to keep a lookout when children are in and around water cannot be overstated. And while drowning can happen any time of the year, June through August is peak time for drowning in Arizona. One safety tool, especially for those summertime parties and outings, is a designated “water watcher” — the Y is distributing 13,000 Water Watcher tags to Valley residents.

3 Barriers. Children are naturally curious, and a backyard swimming pool can be an attractive draw. A physical barrier to pool access is a first line of defense against drowning. In addition to a pool fence, a door alarm can add an extra layer of access prevention.

Beyond swim lessons, supervision and barriers, parents can level-up their water safety game with CPR classes. The American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) offers CPR classes around the Valley. For additional tips and resources, visit www.ymca.net/watersafety, www.apsp.org/nwsm or www.childrensafetyzone.com. | CST

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