Donate blood in the summer too

July 13, 2016 | by Denise Heady

For many, summer is synonymous with letting go of responsibilities and relaxing with family and friends. But at City of Hope’s Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center, summer is the start of a rough season.

Every summer, partly due to the rise in out-of-town vacations, blood donations fall dramatically across the nation, leaving hospitals frantically trying to bring in much-needed blood for patients who needed regular blood transfusions.

Earlier this week, the American Red Cross issued a critical appeal for blood and platelets, reporting that the nation’s blood supply is facing significantly low inventory levels. "Blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months, resulting in about 39,000 fewer donations than what’s needed, as well as a significant draw-down of its overall blood supply," the organization said on its website.

These donations save lives every day at City of Hope. Nicole Shultz, 25, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute myelogenous leukemia when she was just 14 years old, and knows all too well how important it is to have a supply of blood and platelets. 

“I’ve been a patient here at City of Hope for almost 11 years now and over that time I’ve received so much blood and platelets as part of my treatment,” said Nicole.

City of Hope patients need more than 35,000 units of blood and platelets each year. In comparison, City of Hope brings in about 22,300 units of blood and platelets each year, not nearly enough to meet patients’ needs.

While summer is a notoriously difficult time for blood and platelet collections, Kasie Uyeno, manager of donor recruitment at City of Hope's Blood Donor Center, reminds us that “the need for blood and platelets never takes a holiday.”

To encourage donations this summer, for the month of July, anyone who donates blood at City of Hope will receive one ticket into the Los Angeles County Fair, and those who donate platelets will receive two tickets.

Visit www.iDonateBlood4Hope.org or call 626-218-7171 to schedule your appointment today or find a blood drive near you.

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