The American Red Cross is sponsoring a blood drive in Bayonne during a critical type O blood shortage. The Bayonne Masonic Lodge will host the drive on Feb. 10. The blood drive will be held from 3 until 8 p.m. at 888 Ave. C.
“With influenza escalating across the country and preventing some donors from giving, and winter weather threatening to cancel blood drives, the Red Cross now has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs donors to restock the shelves,” the American Red Cross said in a press release.
According to the Red Cross, the organization has less than a three-day supply of type O blood for emergencies and medical treatments. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.
While just 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type. Type O negative is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type, the Red Cross said.
The Red Cross, which supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, said it has extended its urgent call for donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets. Every day, the Red Cross must collect nearly 13,000 blood donations and more than 2,600 platelet donations for patients who rely on blood to survive.
Drops in donations can cause delays in essential medical care for patients like 12-year-old Dagan Hawkins. According to the Red Cross, Dagan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Nov. of 2019 and required platelet and blood transfusions during his cancer treatments.
“There was a time when they needed to have blood products delivered from another hospital because they were unavailable there,” said Dustin Hawkins, Dagan’s father.
Calling all blood types
The Red Cross said that all blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply.
Potential blood donors need a donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification to check in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states, weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood, according to Red Cross donation requirements.
High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Potential blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using the Red Cross’s new RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online before the donation. Users need to complete them on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive.
According to the Red Cross, nonprofit shelters feed and provide emotional support to victims of disasters. The organization said that it also teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families.
Donors of all blood types, especially types O positive and O negative, are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
The only other blood drive for type O blood in Hudson County is in Jersey City on Jan. 26, at Hank Gallo Community Center at 1 Lincoln Park from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.