The American Red Cross issued a request for blood donors last week. With schools, which normally hold blood drives, out for the summer and many families traveling, the Red Cross has seen a dramatic dip in the number of donors. A lack of donations, combined with the summer’s typical spike in car accidents, has caused blood banks to reach critical shortages across the country.
While May and June’s demand for blood remained constant, the number of donations was the lowest reported in over 12 years. The Red Cross is calling for any and all blood types. However, blood banks especially need the universal O negative, which can be used by all receivers.
Only through donations can the American Red Cross give blood to its 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the United States. Red Cross blood donations help accident victims, cancer and sickle-cell disease patients, and those who need transfusions every day due to rare blood disorders.
Luckily for D.C. residents, several radio stations around the D.C. area are hosting summer blood drives where giving back gets you fun gifts. All are welcome to donate.
• 97.9 Baltimore is hosting 98 Rock MEGA Drive July 20-22 from noon to 8 p.m. at 2 locations: Town Mall of Westminster and Tall Cedars of Lebanon. All donators will receive a free t-shirt and 98 Rock goodie bag. Donors will also be entered to win 2 VIP tickets to Outlaw Jam 2, with Poison and Motley Crew.
• Six Flags America and Hot 99.5 are also hosting a blood drive on June 29 from 9a.m. to 4p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bethesda, MD. All participants will receive a free ticket to Six Flags America.
• Big 100.3 rounds out the summer with their own blood drive in Fairfax, Va. on Aug. 5 from 9a.m. to 4 p.m. All participants will receive a free NASCAR ticket to the One Last Race to See the Chase at Richmond International Raceway on Sept.10.
D.C. is also home to several nearby donation centers like the VA Medical Center on 50 Irving St., and the E Street Donor Center at 2025 E St. NW. Call 1800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment time.
Donators only need be 17 years old, meet basic height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on height) and in generally good health. Eat and drink plenty of fluids and bring a Red Cross Donor card or a government issued ID and come by to give.