When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B, O and AB blood types are missing from hospital shelves, lives could be changed forever.
For the second year, the American RedCross is launching the Missing Types campaign to raise awareness of the need for new and current blood donors to donate and help ensure blood is available for patients in need this summer. As part of the campaign, you may notice A’s, B’s and O’s – the letters representing the main blood groups – missing from signage, websites and across social media to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays.
A sad truth is only 3 out of 100 Americans donate blood each year, but every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. If more people roll up a sleeve to give, blood shortages can be prevented.
Why blood donors are needed
Tymia McCullough relies on blood donations to help battle sickle cell disease, an inherited disease that causes red blood cells to form in an abnormal crescent shape. Sickle cell disease patients can suffer a range of conditions, including acute anemia, tissue and organ damage, terrible pain and even strokes.
With no widely used cure, regular blood transfusions are one of the most common treatments for sickle cell disease. At one time, when McCullough arrived at the hospital, the blood type she needed for her transfusion was not available.
“It was the scariest, most frightening moment of a mother’s life, because I thought that she would not be able to get it,” said Susie Pitts, Tymia’s mother. “In that moment, in that experience, I was very afraid. I was scared for my daughter’s life ─ what was going to happen if she didn’t get the blood she needed?”
Eight hours later, the nurse came running through the door with the needed blood product.
Again, this past fall Tymia experienced a painful sickle cell crisis and needed to wait 10 long hours for the hospital to locate the blood she needed for her treatment. Thankfully, Tymia is better today, yet her experience illustrates the ongoing need for blood, and at times, the frightening reality patients face when needed blood supplies become critically low.
Make a difference today
- and bring a friend – Schedule your appointment at RedCrossBlood.org/MissingTypes or with the Blood Donor App.
- Spread the word –
- Write out your
name with the A’s, B’s and O’s missing on the “blank” selfie sign, and take a photo with it. (Underscores are
recommended. Example: _meric_n Red Cr_ss. Basic directions are also posted at
the previous link for your convenience.)
- Visit RedCrossBlood.org to share a Missing Types message on your social media.
Commit about an hour of your day to give blood and help save a life. Patients need you.
Six things to know before donating:
- You don’t need to know your blood type.
According to a national survey conducted earlier this year on behalf of the Red Cross, more than half (54%) of people believe they need to know their blood type to donate blood. This is simply untrue.
- Hydrate – drink an extra 16 oz. of liquid before and after donating.
- Enjoy a healthy meal rich in iron and vitamin C before donating – avoid foods high in fat just prior to donation.
- Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
- Complete a RapidPass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time.
- Remember to bring an ID.
Help fill in the missing types this summer. Schedule a donation appointment now.