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ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The American Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges eligible donors to give now to help patients facing trauma and other life-threatening situations. As a thank-you for helping replenish the blood supply, all donors who come to give blood or platelets now through June 10 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email.

Right now, the Red Cross has less than a two-day supply of type O blood available for emergency rooms, where it can be most critical. That means just six units of type O blood are available for every 100,000 people, but at least 14 are needed every day. While just 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and is also critical in trauma situations.

The Red Cross collected approximately 11,500 fewer type O blood donations than needed to sustain a sufficient blood supply. Spring break schedules are known to decrease blood donations, and schools, including high schools and colleges, begin to host fewer blood drives in late spring as school years end. Because these drives account for about 20 percent of blood donations during the school year, less drives can also greatly affect the blood supply.

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Eligible donors with type O blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or Power Red donation, where available. During a Power Red donation, donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross  through June 10, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. Additionally, those who come to give May 24-28 will receive an exclusive Red Cross-branded T-shirt, while supplies last.

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Local blood donation opportunities include:

Mattoon

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  • May 25: noon- 6 p.m., St John Lutheran Church Mattoon, 200 Charleston Avenue
  • June 3: 2-6 p.m., American Legion Hall, 1903 Maple
  • June 3: 2-6 p.m., Pilson Auto-Mattoon, Pilson Ford Lincoln, 2000 Lake Land Blvd
  • June 4: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Home Depot, 1301 Fort Worth Way
  • June 7: 2-6 p.m., KC Summers, 117 South 19th Street

Greenup

  • May 29: 1-6 p.m., Greenup Village Municipal Building, 115 East Cumberland Street

Shelbyville

  • May 28: noon-4 p.m., Hawthorne Inn, 1111 West North 12th Street

Stewardson

  • June 4: 2-6 p.m., Stewardson Community Building, 108 Pine Street
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