Red Cross begins Missing Types of blood campaign

CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF — Regina Bratton, the external communications manager for the American Red Cross, on Tuesday announced the kickoff of the Missing Types campaign. The goal of the campaign is to inspire new and former donors to give blood this summer. -- Amy Neeley

STEUBENVILLE — The American Red Cross kicked off the Missing Types campaign during a press conference Tuesday at the Historic Fort Steuben.

Approximately 40 national partners, including Oreo, Facebook, Google and Major League Baseball will be covering up the letters A, B, and O in their signage to remind the public of the need for those missing blood types. Several local sponsors will be participating as well.

“Those missing letters may seem strange in everyday life, but they can be life or death to those in the hospital,” said Regina Bratton, the external communications manager for the American Red Cross.

Bratton spoke about how 45 percent of the public knows someone who has been helped by a transfusion but only 3 percent of the population actually donates each year.

She also spoke about the decline in donors each year. The number of donors has decreased by approximately 80,000 each year for the past four years.

Karen Conklin, executive director of the River to Valley Chapter of the Red Cross, also spoke about the need for new donors.

“We are urgent right now, but we could become critical at any time,” she sad. “This is extremely personal to me because my husband is to have cancer surgery soon.”

Conklin urged everyone to help.

“Open up those arms and give,” she told the audience.

Adam Reaves, district manager of the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region, spoke about the decline in donors during the summer months.

“People go on vacation and forget about the need for donors,” he said. “Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood or a blood product. Blood and platelet donations through the American Red Cross often do not keep pace with the hospital demand during the summer months.”

Those interested do not need to know their blood type to donate, and blood can safely be donated every 56 days. Type O negative is the universal blood type and is used in emergency situations when there is not time to verify blood type, and type O positive can be transferred to any Rh-positive patients. Type O blood also is often used for infants in need of a transfusion. Types A negative and B negative can be given to either Rh-positive or negative patients, and type AB plasma is the universal plasma type and can be given to any one in need during and emergency.

Blood drives planned include the Jefferson County Media Day drive set from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on June 20 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville and the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission event to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on June 28 at the Towers building in Steubenville.

Those wanting to donate blood at any other time can make an appointment by calling (800) 733-2767 or visiting redcrossblood.org.