SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The first day of summer is reason for many of us to celebrate. But this season is often a struggle to keep a sufficient blood supply in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. A new American Red Cross effort hopes to change that.
Blood donations decrease during summer but the fact is the blood donor base is shrinking. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a rather clever campaign is now underway to get that message across.
“I figured I’d come down and do what I can,” said 17-year-old blood donor Jonathan Penman, Jr. The Scranton teen is doing something not nearly enough of us do. As a thank you for being a blood donor, he received a t-shirt that may seem like it has a misprint. But those missing letters are no accident.
“It’s a good idea. It’s smart. It’s clever,” said blood donor Jerry Ryan of Tobyhanna as he discussed #MissingType. The campaign has companies like Oreo, State Farm and IBM intentionally missing the letters A, B and O from their brand names. A, B and O all represent the major blood types. “It’s been something very interesting to see what happens when the corporations drop their letters,” said Red Cross Blood Services Communications Manager Alana Mauger.
The idea behind the campaign is to let everyone know without blood types A, B and O we can’t save anybody. “We’re seeing a decline in new donors by about 80,000 new donors less every year,” said Ms. Mauger.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood yet only about three percent of Americans give blood annually. Your blood donation can potentially help save up to three lives. “It takes within a half-hour. Just do it and be done and over with and help someone who needs (it),” said blood donor Chris Gallagher of Scranton.
Mr. Ryan has been donating whole blood and platelets for several years about once a month. “I started with my brother-in-law. He had cancer.” Mr. Ryan has witnessed the disturbing decline in donors especially in summer. “That’s when you really need it (blood) the most. People are traveling. Accidents happen and you need it.”
Donors like Mr. Penman hope the campaign helps fill the missing type. “It will be very effective. I feel like everything using social media nowadays seems to be very effective. I mean everyone has a gadget in their pocket, you know.”
You can join the #MissingType movement by donating blood before the letters A, B and O go missing from hospital shelves. Just set-up an appointment with the American Red Cross.