SUMMER ALERT: Blood and platelet donors needed now  

Published 12:52 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

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The American Red Cross critically needs blood and platelet donors now following a concerning decrease in donations as the country has experienced an increase in severe weather systems and historic travel. In fact, over the past month about 20,000 fewer blood donations were collected than needed to maintain the Red Cross national blood supply.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), five of the busiest travel days ever happened over the last month and more record-breaking travel is expected this summer — a busy time when many regular donors may be unable to give. Additionally, as the U.S. approaches what AAA calls the “100 deadliest days” of summer for auto accidents, it is critical hospitals have lifesaving blood products on hand for all trauma and accident victims who count on transfusions when there is no time to waste. In some of the most-dire situations, medical teams may need to use hundreds of blood products to save a life.

Storm response efforts 

The Memorial Day weekend brought the busiest severe weather day of the year so far, with 26 reported tornadoes across 10 states. In western North Carolina, strong storms and high winds in counties like Madison and Clay resulted dozens of homes and structures being destroyed and over 130 people needing assistance, including over 30 overnight stays in an emergency shelter. The Red Cross team continues to provide food, aid, and assistance to residents affected by the severe storms over the weekend, and are continuing to assess damage reports.

Just three weeks ago, an EF-1 tornado hit Cleveland and Gaston Counties, causing thousands to lose power and resulting in at least one death. An intense hail storm in Rock Hill, South Carolina back in April toppled trees and damaged numerous homes and cars, causing millions of dollars in financial damage according to local officials. Recovery efforts for these individuals and families affected by disaster continue today.

With the most active year for tornadoes since 2017, hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers and our partners are working around the clock across multiple states to make sure people affected by this severe weather have a safe place to stay, food, relief supplies and emotional and spiritual support. Emergency shelters are open in some of the hardest hit areas.

Meanwhile, Red Cross disaster workers in the North Carolina region and across the country are continuing to help assess the damage where it is safe to do so with preliminary reports indicating nearly 3,000 homes either destroyed or with major damage.

The Red Cross is monitoring the weather and standing by to open additional shelters if needed. Should new communities be impacted, the organization will be on the ground providing help in the days and weeks to come.

How to help

Individuals are urged to help those facing emergencies – whether a need for a lifesaving blood transfusion or a need for shelter from the storm.

  • Make a blood donation appointment by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
  • Help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises by making a financial donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief today at or via 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
  • Put on a red vest and join us as a volunteer today to provide relief and hope when it matters most. Visit to sign up for local opportunities. With the NOAA prediction of an active hurricane season for 2024, the North Carolina Region is especially welcoming those interested in the following volunteer opportunities:
    • Sheltering – Volunteers are trained to help provide aid, support, and assistance to individuals and families at Red Cross emergency shelters. Opportunities for deployment are available.
    • Disaster Relief – Volunteers are trained to provide immediate aid, support, and assistance in the field to those individuals and families affected by disaster.

The Red Cross has teamed up with Tetris, creators of the iconic, best-selling video game, to celebrate their 40th anniversary and build the blood supply for patients in need. In commemoration, all who answer the call to help May 20-June 9, 2024, will get an exclusive Tetris® + Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last, plus be automatically entered for a chance to win a trip for two to New York to meet Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov.

See for details.