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by Sandra Pratt

H ppy summer! C n y u elieve it is finally here? I c n remem er the excitement f summer v c ti n like it w s yesterd y.

Do you notice anything weird in the previous sentences? I bet you were thinking, “Wow, someone did NOT proofread that well.”

It was on purpose—to help highlight the Missing Types campaign with the American Red Cross that launches this month. Iconic corporate and civic brands, celebrities, and influencers will be removing the letters A, B, and O – the main blood type groups – from signage, websites, and social media to illustrate the critical role every blood donor can play. All blood types are needed at this time, but especially type O. Type O negative is the universal blood type, which means it can be transfused to anyone who needs blood, regardless of their blood type. It is especially important that people with type O blood donate as frequently as they can, which is every 56 days.

According to a survey conducted last year on behalf of the Red Cross, more than a third of people have never considered that blood may not be available when they or their loved ones need it. A few years ago, one of my nephews had a lengthy hospital stay and needed several transfusions while he was there. I reminded my husband this is why I give, because we will all know someone who will someday need life-saving blood. It only takes about an hour to give, and remember, you get to eat snacks afterwards (the Oreo cookie bites are my fave!) and have some juice.

There is always a need, as only three out of 100 people in the United States give blood. The need for blood is even higher in the summer months, as donations drop off while the demand does not. There simply are not enough people donating blood to help patients in need. Every two seconds, somebody needs blood — accident victims, cancer patients, surgical candidates, children with blood disorders, and others. The Red Cross urges more individuals to roll up a sleeve and give to help ensure that lifesaving blood products are available for patients when and where they are needed.

The Missing Types campaign hopes to inspire new and former blood donors to give this summer and become regular blood donors for patients in need. A single blood donation can potentially save up to three lives. So, as you are gear up for summer barbeques, camps, and vacations, please consider making a donation — a donation of life — by giving blood at our local American Red Cross. The next time you see a blood drive, please take the time to donate. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit them online to schedule an appointment, find a blood drive, or see how you can host a drive.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.

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