By: Tom Del Conte 

“It’s Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” or at least that’s how Ella Fitzgerald sang the song. However, the summer months have been known to cause blood shortages across American Red Cross blood banks. Currently, people from all over the nation are in desperate need of blood.

The shortage is in part because organizations tend to host most of their blood drives in the fall and winter months when they are most active. But that doesn’t stop the fact that people need blood year-round. In early July, the American Red Cross put out an emergency call for blood and platelet donations and thousands of people responded. Despite this effort, the critical lack of blood continues this summer.

Donors give roughly one pint of blood each session which can save up to three lives.
There has been a recent increase in donations but blood products are being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in and more are needed. Fortunately, there are many upcoming opportunities to donate and all eligible blood types are asked to contribute.

The American Red Cross is offering a gift for giving back. If you come out and donate blood or platelets before August 31 you will be emailed a $5 Target, Panera Bread, Amazon or CVS gift card.

Blood donation times and locations:

  • August, 10. Best Western, 3499 Street Road in Bensalem from 2 to7 p.m.
  • August, 12. Scottsville United Methodist Church, 2400 Brownsville road in Langhorne from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • August, 14. Keller Williams Real Estate, 584 Middletown Blvd., Suite A-50 in Langhorne from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • August, 15. International SOS, 3600 Horizon Blvd. in Feasterville-Trevose From 2 to 7 p.m.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the blood donor app, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

Plasma is a vital asset in hospitals and other medical services. According to records, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, in other words, about one in seven people entering a hospital need some type of transfusion. Unlike many other medical advancements like prosthetics and pace makers, blood cannot be artificially made.

Statistics show 37% of Americans that are eligible to donate blood, only 10% actually do. The American Red Cross states the number one reason people don’t give blood is related to a fear of needles. But Donating blood is a quick, safe procedure that only takes about 10-12 minutes on average. The American Red Cross uses sterile needles that are used only once for each donor and then discarded.