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Shortage In Blood Bank Supply Prompts US Retail Brands To Drop Letters In Support Of Red Cross #MissingType Campaign

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Fewer people are donating blood each year, causing a shortage of blood types A, B, and O in local blood banks. The Red Cross teamed up with major brands as well as local and overseas chapters in the #MissingType campaign that encourages regular blood donation.

"Every day, we have thousands of lives to help save, but blood and platelet donations often do not keep pace with hospital demand during the summer months," said Nick Gehrig, communications director of Red Cross Blood Services. "In less time than it can take to go out to eat, you can make a lifesaving difference for cancer patients, accident victims and others in need."

#MissingType Campaign

In the past four years, Red Cross has seen a steady decline of new blood donors by about 80,000 annually. More than 15 million pints of blood are transfused in the United States per year, and only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood. About 3 percent of the donor population donates blood annually.

Major brands such as Domino's, Dropbox, Google, IBM, Oreo, PayPal, Mastercard, Neiman Marcus, and U.S. Bank expressed their support to Red Cross' #MissingType campaign by dropping letters A, B, and O in their names. In 2016, Red Cross launched the same campaign, which garnered massive support from U.S. retail brands.

Why People Refuse To Donate Blood?

One in seven persons who gets hospitalized requires a blood transfusion to survive. Patients with cancer and kids with sickle cell disease need regular blood transfusions if not daily.

Patients who suffered major blood loss due to accidents have to be transfused so they can live, yet there are not enough donations countrywide.

One of the most common reasons why people refuse to donate blood is their fear of needles, according to Miller-Keystone Blood Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Others also have the perception that donors are already donating enough.

Since blood is perishable and can only be stored for 42 days, a constant donation is needed. Platelets, on the one hand, can only be stored for five days.

Potential donors are afraid of catching diseases that can be spread through needles. However, accredited blood centers follow a five-layer safety protocol, which includes careful eligibility screening, individual testing process, laboratory testing for all blood samples, confidential exclusion of ineligible donors, and checking of donor records.

"However, we have seen a troubling decline in the number of new blood donors. We urge the public to roll up a sleeve and fill the missing types before these lifesaving letters go missing from hospital shelves," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross.

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