Red Cross issues emergency blood, platelet request

The American Red Cross on Tuesday issued an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types to donate after fewer donations than expected were received to start the summer.

Jerry J.K. Tillery, CEO of the Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region, said someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds.

"Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need," Tillery said in a press release. Donations nationwide were down about 10 percent in June, which means the Red Cross received about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. It's the second straight year the Red Cross had a similar shortfall.

Along with school being out, Red Cross officials said a mid-week Independence Day holiday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July. Many sponsors, especially businesses, couldn't host drives because employees took extended vacations.The Southern Blood Region needs about 1,200 donors daily to give blood.

The Red Cross is looking for eligible donors especially with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood. Platelets, which are a clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, are also needed. Because they must be transfused within five days of donations, officials said it's important to have a steady supply.

To donate, or for more information, Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make anappointment or for more information 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.