Traditionally, the trickiest season for the American Red Cross is the summer.  However, this year’s been extremely difficult for them because of a critical shortage of blood donors.  Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse.  Unless we do something about it.

Darien Times reports that this summer goes down as one of their most difficult on record.  The Red Cross received about 61,000 fewer donations than last year.   So, if you heard nonstop about giving blood, that’s why.

Because donations immediately went out to hospitals as soon as they came in during May and June, almost to the point they couldn’t keep up.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  But, it did come close.

That’s why the organization made an emergency call to replenish their supply before the unthinkable happened.  And, luckily, that resulted in a 30 percent increase in blood donors.  Still, they have August and September to worry about.

Summertime always proves a major hurdle for the Red Cross because most of their donations come from students.  High Schools and universities around the national typically make up the grand majority of their blood supply.

Ergo, when the students go on summer recess, the reserves quickly run dry.  One of their major concerns is not having enough blood on hand should there ever be a national tragedy.  That’s why they’re constantly holding blood drives and encouraging eligible donors.

So, that’s why the organization will email a $5 Target eGiftCard to all donors between July 26 and August 31.  For a nonprofit organization, that’s a huge gesture.

Not only will you save a life if you donate, you also get some cash to spend.  Talk about a win-win for everyone.

Kelly Isenor, external communications manager of the Connecticut Blood Services Region, explained why it’s so important to give blood:

“The blood supply is like a cell phone battery, it constantly needs recharging. We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives and encourage those who haven’t to consider rolling up a sleeve and give the gift of life. It only takes about an hour but can mean a lifetime for patients.”

By donating, you save a life.  That’s why I always found the “give life” line so powerful.  Because blood donors don’t just save one life, they spare family and friends significant heartache from losing a loved one.

In short: you donate, you become a hero.

So, if you’re interested in making a difference, there’s several way to get started. You can schedule an appointment using the Blood Donor App.  You can also visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to set everything up.

If you’re concerned about not having enough time for an appointment;  you can also fill out a RapidPass questionnaire about your health history and cut down the time it takes to donate.

Plus, by visiting the website, you can view their calendar to find drives near you.

So, have you ever donated blood?   Have you donated more than once?   Or, have you ever been saved by a blood transfusion?  Tell me in the comments below!

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