The few letters you see missing here may not seem like a big deal. But the letters A, B and O make up the main blood groups. For a patient in the hospital desperately needing type A, B, O or AB blood, these letters mean more. They mean life. No matter your blood type, patients need you now! When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B, O and AB blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.
Representatives from the American Red Cross were joined by physician leaders from Albany Med to launch the Missing Types Campaign in the Capital Region on June 11. The campaign will run nationwide from June 11-30, encouraging people to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets this summer.
Why is donating blood and platelets so important?
Every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. Blood provided by the American Red Cross is also used for patients who have experienced serious injuries from car crashes or natural disasters. Read more about how your blood donation benefits patients of all ages.
Blood transfusion is the fourth most common inpatient hospital procedure in the U.S. Blood can only come from volunteer blood donors, yet only 3 out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood. That’s simply not enough to help patients who need transfusions.
Local companies show their support
In addition to Red Cross leaders and local physicians, several Capital Region companies have stepped up to support the Missing Types campaign. These partners include: Albany Med, Beacon Health Options, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Fingerpaint, Hoffman Car Wash, MVP Health Care, Price Chopper, Saratoga Hospital, State Farm, Stewart’s Shops, and Tri City Rentals. Each of these partners has removed the letters A, B and O from their logos to help show the impact the missing types have, and to encourage blood donations. Furthermore, many of these partners are hosting blood drives throughout the summer months to give people more opportunities to donate in their communities.
Survey reveals public misconceptions about blood needs
A 2019 national survey, conducted on behalf of the Red Cross, revealed a troubling disconnect between the public’s perception of blood donations and the realities of patient transfusion needs.
A third (33%) of the public has never considered that blood may not be available when a loved one needs it. Just last month, the Red Cross only had only six units of type O blood available for every 100,000 people, but more than twice that is needed every day.
Clothes (69%), money (63%) and food (53%) are the primary ways that the public has donated to help others in the past year. Only 3% of people in the U.S. give blood.
Blood transfusion is one of the most common hospital procedures in the U.S. Yet, “Never really thought about it” was the primary reason (26%) that people do not give blood among those who haven’t given recently.
More than half (54%) the public believes it is necessary to know their blood type in order to donate blood—this is simply not true. Potential blood donors do not need to know their blood type before giving blood. After individuals give blood, the Red Cross provides each donor their blood type.
For those who have never donated before, or who haven’t rolled up a sleeve in a few years, the message is clear: You can help fill the missing types.
We invite you to join the movement this summer and schedule your blood donation appointment.
So what are you waiting for?
Don’t wait until the letters A, B and O go missing from hospital shelves. Join the #MissingTypes movement today—make an appointment to give blood by visiting redcrossblood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).