SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – January is National Blood Donor Month. ABC4 and Utah’s CW30 are encouraging people to donate blood this month if you can to help restock what The American Red Cross describes as a “dangerously low” supply of blood in Utah.

Did you know that every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood? Or that winter months make it extremely difficult to collect the necessary amount of blood and platelets needed to supply hospitals?

The American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month and recognizes the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors, it has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years and coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients.

When it comes to blood and platelet donations, the winter season is often filled with hurdles as blood drives compete with things such as seasonal illnesses and inclement weather.

A donation shortfall over the winter holidays has prompted the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood and for platelet donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and affecting patient care.

The Red Cross collected more than 27,000 fewer blood and platelet donations the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply, as busy holiday schedules kept many donors away.

During this critical time of year, the Red Cross depends on donors to continue to supply these resources to make sure that blood products are available at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide.

Thanks to the generosity of volunteer blood donors, the American Red Cross helps patients receive the blood and platelets needed to battle illness and injury.

According to the Red Cross, nearly 2.7 million people in the U.S. volunteer to donate blood and platelets every year. Blood and platelets are available for distribution to hospitals through the Red Cross 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Blood transfusions are given to patients in all kinds of circumstances, including serious injuries, surgeries, childbirth, anemia, blood disorders, cancer treatments and many others.

This consistent demand makes National Blood Donor Month an integral piece of the puzzle. Each day the Red Cross must collect 13,000 pints of blood from across the country to meet the needs of patients.

This makes a blood and platelet shortage during the colder months a crucial matter for the Red Cross and the hospitals they serve.

Blood is a perishable product that can only come from generous volunteers. A blood donation takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes between 8 to 10 minutes. Each blood and platelet donation can save the lives of as many as three people. It’s easy to schedule appointments, access your donor card, track donations, get rewards and more. Download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App now. Text BLOODAPP to 90999* to get the app that helps save lives. Or, search Red Cross Blood on the App StoreSM or on the Google PlayTM store.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

Facts
• In the first half of 2021, a rise in the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries requiring blood products depleted the nation’s blood inventory. Patients who previously deferred care early in the COVID-19 pandemic experienced more advanced disease progression, therefore requiring increased blood transfusions.
• In recent months, blood donor turnout has plummeted as the delta variant has affected communities across the country this fall.
• Help can’t wait — the Red Cross needs to collect 10,000 additional blood products each week to overcome current blood supply challenges and meet the needs of patients in hospitals across the country.
• To meet the increasing needs of hospital patients, the Red Cross distributed 250,000 more blood products in 2021 than last year, until the delta variant began to spread in August. The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34% drop in new blood donors from last year — one of the largest year-to-year decreases that could threaten essential medical care for patients

Give Blood and be Entered to Win
The American Red Cross and the NFL are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to invite football fans and blood donors to join our lifesaving team and score big for patients in need.
To thank donors for helping during a time when the Red Cross blood supply is at historically low levels, those who come to give Jan. 1-31, 2022, will automatically be entered to win two tickets to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California! The winner and guest will have the exciting opportunity to experience the first Super Bowl in SoFi Stadium! The package includes two tickets to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience, round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, three-night hotel accommodations (Feb. 11-14, 2022), plus a $500 gift card for expenses.

PLUS, The Red Cross has an extra thank-you for stepping off the sidelines and rolling up a sleeve to help those in need. Those who give in January will also automatically be entered to win the Big Game at Home package to enjoy an awesome viewing experience at home. ** This home theater package includes a smart, short-throw laser projector; projector screen; sound bar; subwoofer; gift card for tech support with installation and a $500 e-gift card to put toward food and fun!

Health emergencies don’t pause for holidays, game day or a pandemic. Donors are needed now to help patients make a comeback this winter. More information online, click here