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      The Red Cross needs you!

      The American Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in over 30 states during the past three months " delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there TMs another, more personal, kind of disaster which can happen to any of us at any time if we need blood and it TMs not available.

      Due to a critical shortage of donated blood across the nation, the American Red Cross " the single largest supplier of blood products in the United States " is asking eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give as soon as possible.

      With many donors busy or traveling, and with school out of session where up to 20 percent of donations are made during the academic year, donations have dropped dramatically.

      In May and June, while the need for blood products remained steady, donations were at the lowest level the Red Cross has experienced in more than 12 years " approximately 6 percent lower than what the Red Cross typically sees during this timeframe.

      Therefore, the Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors now more than ever. All blood types are needed, but especially O negative, B negative and A negative.

      Rh negative blood types are always in high demand because they potentially can be transfused to patients with Rh positive or Rh negative blood. Type O negative, the universal blood type, can potentially be transfused to patients with any blood type.

      Donors with type O negative, B negative and A negative blood who meet the eligibility requirements are highly encouraged to double the difference by becoming a double red cell donor. These donors are able to give two red cell donations at once.

      Blood is a perishable resource and must be replenished through regular voluntary donations. Every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. The Red Cross needs donors "now more than ever"to roll up their sleeve and give.

      Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to find a convenient blood donation location and to schedule a lifesaving blood donation appointment.

      Presenting donors age 21 and older will automatically be entered into our Good to Give. Good to Go. promotion and have the chance to win a trip for four to Orlando, Fla.

      The Red Cross must recruit enough donors each and every day to meet the constant blood needs of accident victims, cancer patients, surgical candidates, children with blood disorders and others. This amounts to approximately 38,000 blood donations each week.